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    Afghan soldiers prepare to unload a helicopter from a cargo aircraft at Kabul military airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013

    Safety in Numbers: Afghanistan Turns to Russia for Security Assistance

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    Afghanistan has asked Russia "to consider the possibility of providing service and logistical support to Afghanistan, as well as training personnel for the Afghan army and police," Afghan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Muhammad Ashraf Haidari told Sputnik Dari.

    The current situation in Afghanistan was high on the agenda of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Moscow on April 25.

    "Russia is sincerely interested in a country that’s so friendly toward us in resolving its period of instability and focusing on providing for the prosperity of its people," Lavrov said.

    He added that the Russian side promotes "support for a national dialogue" and that "we are ready to use any format in order to provide support for external players in this process."

    Last Friday, US Central Command spokesperson Col. John Thomas said that over 50 individuals, including soldiers and civilians, were killed when Taliban terrorists stormed the Afghan National Army's 209 Shaheen Corps Headquarters and attacked individuals in the base's mosque during prayers.

    The death toll then rose to about 135 soldiers, while at least 60 servicemen were injured, with some of them currently in critical condition, the news outlet TOLO reported, citing a government official.

    Other media reports suggested that the death toll rose to 140 people, while the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed later on Friday that over 100 individuals had died in the attack.

    Afghanistan has been experiencing significant political, social and security-related instability for decades, as terrorist organizations, such as the Taliban and Daesh, both outlawed in Russia and many other countries, continue to stage attacks against civilian and military targets.

    That is why Kabul's latest request for cooperation with Moscow could include the issues related to ensuring security, Muhammad Ashraf Haidari, head of the Afghan Foreign Ministry's Department for Policy and Strategic Planning, told Sputnik Dari.

    "We have always discussed issues of cooperation with regional states, including Russia, which are concerned with the problems of regional security and stability, as well as issues such as combating terrorism, radicalism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan," he said.

    Afghan Mi-17
    © Photo: wikipedia / USArmy.mil
    Afghan Mi-17

    According to Haidari, within the security area Russia could provide maintenance support for the Afghan air force, especially its Mi-17 and Mi-25 helicopters, which were made in Russia and which Afghanistan purchased from Russia and other friendly countries.

    "In addition, Russia can provide support for training and equipping our armed forces, in accordance with the requests of our Defense Ministry," he said.

    Haidari, who led the Afghan delegation at the recent regional consultations on the Afghan problem in Moscow, also expressed hope that Russia will announce its readiness to take part in major international consultation on Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.

    Meanwhile, a well-informed source told Sputnik that Moscow has  yet to decide on its participation in the Kabul consultations, which are due to be attended by the United States and a number of EU countries.

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    Tags:
    helicopters, air force, cooperation, security, Mi-25, Mi-17, Afghanistan, Russia
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