The Indian-supplied Mi-25 gunship helicopters will kick-off operations with the Afghan Air Force within the next two months, it has been reported.
The delivery of the Russian-made gunships comes amid crucial need of close air support to the Afghan national security forces who are fighting the Taliban militants on their own during the past one year, since the NATO-led coalition forces concluded their military operation in December last year.
According to the local reports, citing deputy foreign minister of Afghanistan, Hekmat Karzai, the gunship helicopters will soon be flying in the skies of Afghanistan targeting the Taliban.
Four Russian-made Mi-25 attack helicopters, with the Indian Air Force, will be delivered within the next two months, sources tell NDTV.
Following his meeting with the Indian officials, Karzai said “We have had the most casualties. We see daily violence in about 20 provinces, so, it is important to have that covered.”
Karzai further added Two and a half years ago, we had about 150,000 coalition forces. To support them, we had over 200,000 military contractors.”
He was referring to the coalition drawdown and the vacuum created with the need for helicopter gunships.
He also added “We now have to develop our own capabilities. This is why we are reaching out to our friends and allies.”
The delivery of the gunships to Afghan Air Force is considered as major shift in policy followed from the UPA government’s tenure who were willing not willing to provide Kabul any lethal weapons or equipment.
India has been training around 1,000 Afghan army and other security officers and men a year.