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India-supplied gunships to be first used in Helmand

India-supplied gunships to be first used in Helmand

Jan 20, 2016 - 17:16

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Indian-supplied Mi-24D gunship helicopters were ready for operations in Afghanistaninfo-icon and they would be first used against insurgents in southern Helmand province, an official said on Wednesday.

Indian Prime Minister Nanednra Modi had officially handed over the fighter helicopters to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah at the Kabul International Airport last month.

Afghan Air Force (AAF) Chief Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak told a gathering here that three of the four Russian made helicopters had been delivered to Afghanistan and were ready to kick-off operations in the Afghan air. Indian military attaché Brig. Gen. Narayan was also present on the occasion.

Wardak said two of the Mi-24D copters would be dispatched to Helmand province this week where they would be used against insurgents in the ongoing operation against militants.

Bordering Pakistaninfo-icon, Helmand has been the scene of intense clashes between security forces and Talibaninfo-icon militants.

The Helmand police chief on Wednesday told a foreign news agency that the police fighting militants were exhausted and were in desperate of need of reinforcements.

Wardak told the gathering in Kabul that India would provide the forth copter to Afghanistan in the near future.

He said the gunships would help enhance the morale of the ground forces and would be effective in the war against insurgents.

Brig. Gen. Narayan said he was happy to transfer the promised helicopter gunships to the Afghan army. He said the gunships would help protect Afghan security forces on the battlefields.

Deputy Defence Minister Maj. Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Ahmadzai thanked the Indian government for the delivery.

He talked about Indian-funded projects in Afghanistan such as Salma dam, the parliament building and now the Mi-24D copters.

Wahab did not say how many fighter helicopters the Afghan Air Force possess. India has earlier provided three fighter jets Cheetal to the Afghan Air Force.

Also the US has provided four A29 helicopters to Afghanistan recently.



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