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Negotiations underway to directly purchase MI-35 Gunships from Russia

Reports regarding Afghanistan’s intention to directly purchase the gunships from Russia comes amid reports that India has delivered one of the four Mi-25 gunships to Afghanistan with three others to be delivered in the near future, Khaama Press reported.

According to a State-run news agency in Russia quoting an Afghan diplomat based in Moscow, negotiations are currently underway and initiated following President Ghani’s request for Russian military aid in October, asking for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopters.

The diplomat further added that the Afghan Air Force needs the helicopters to be operational in at least two to three districts, insisting on the importance of the Russian-made gunships which can perform better in the country.

However, the Russian Presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier this month that Moscow is carefully reviewing the request by Afghanistan for the delivery of weapons.

Kabulov said the task of weapons supply to Afghan forces primarily goes to the United States and its allies having forces in Afghanistan.

“There have been requests already and they are being reviewed, but this will be done in stages, with thought and reason,” he added.

The Afghan national security forces are in critical need of close-air support after they took full control of the security from the NATO-led coalition security forces last year and are since then leading the majority of security operations across the country amid deteriorating security situation.