Afghan forces to get warplanes, armoured vehicles
Russiahas signed a contract with the US Army to deliver 21 MI-17 helicopters to Afghanistan, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak told the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of the Parliament.
Flanked by Minister of Interior Bismillah Mohammadi and intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil, he said the $367.5 million contract included the delivery of helicopter spare parts, on-ground service and material-technical support.
Three agreements were signed over the past 36 hours to improve the capability of Afghan forces, the minister said, adding two more such pacts had reached between the US government and private companies.
Under the accords, Afghanistan will be provided with 490 armoured vehicles worth $600 million and 32 gunship helicopters valued at $88 million.
Over the next two weeks, Wardak said, two more agreements between the US government and private firms were expected to be inked. The country will receive 26 warplanes. "With these resources, our defence requirements will be met to a great extent," the minister said.
Referring to a recent suicide attack on the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Military Hospital in Kabul's diplomatic district of Wazir Akbar Khan, the minister said some suspects had been arrested.
He added the detainees included security men, but he would not disclose their names as an investigation was still continuing.
To a question, Wardak said 70 percent of nighttime operations by foreign troops were carried out in coordination with Afghan forces.
About civilian casualties, he said the insurgents were killing non-combatants and taking advantage of ensuing protest demonstrations.
The interior minister, expressing his deep concern over the issue, said efforts were being made to prevent such incidents. Mohammadi said to protect civilians, his ministry was working to develop a mechanism.
The acting spying chief acknowledged the militants had increased attacks at a time when Afghan forces were poised to take over the security responsibility and the government planned to enter a strategic partnership deal with the US.
Nabil vowed to foil the nefarious designs of the insurgents, who wanted to destabilise the country. He said 900 militants, including shadow governors and commanders, were killed and 700 attacks foiled last year.
Nabil said the Taliban had launched propaganda movement in Pakistan's tribal region, telling people that Americans were coming to attack them, and the foreign soldiers should be stopped from crossing into their region.
A public representative from Kabul, Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, warned the war would continue until Afghanistan's friends and enemies were indentified.
In response, defence and interior ministers said all those threatening peace and stability were enemies of the country.
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