86 Reasons Why Putin Is Sucking-Up To the US

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Pentagon officials on Monday announced that it has decided to equip the Afghan Air Force (AAF) with 86 MI-17 transport helicopters by the end of 2016. The officials added that they will buy these helicopters from a Russian company.

Considering the geography of Afghanistan, the officials feel that MI-17 choppers will be best suited for the Afghan terrain.

Elaborating on the procurement plans, the Pentagon officials said, “There is no better alternative to the MI-17. The helicopter is best suited for the Afghan terrain. Moreover, the AAF is well-acquainted with the controls of this helicopter.”

Meanwhile, the National Security Council (NSC) cited non-existence of choppers in the AAF as a serious concern and urged the U.S. authorities to accelerate the procurement process and equip the AAF as soon as possible.

The decision was welcomed by the Afghan officials and they said that it will help the AAF tackle any security threat in the country.

“The decision has settled one of the biggest needs of the AAF. However, I do not know the exact number of helicopters that will be given by the U.S.,” said Gen. Zahir Azimi, spokesman of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Setting up a strong and technologically sound AAF has been one of the fundamental concerns of the Afghan government. And, with the procurement of MI-17 choppers, this need would be met and the AAF would be able to stand on its own feet.

A number of MPs believe that if the ANSF is not equipped with necessary arms and ammunitions on time, Afghanistan will be on the brink of facing a disaster post-2014.

“The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) does not have the capability to fight and lead military operations. Due to lack of equipments and proper training, the ANSF is unable to provide medical assistance to soldiers who are wounded during operations,” said Mohammad Abdu, MP.

“ANSF is very weak and the international community has taken the responsibility to equip these forces with necessary weaponries. Afghanistan will have to confront several challenges post-2014, and if a powerful air force is not formed the nation will be doomed,” Mr. Abdu added.

Existence of a capable air force is considered as an important factor for the security of a country. Unfortunately, for Afghanistan the situation is quite different as its air force still does not have enough equipment to protect itself. So far, even the international community has failed to address the issue, and it could be catastrophic for the future of Afghanistan if nothing is done.

After Kabul strongly criticised the nighttime military operations carried out by the foreign forces, the responsibility of such operations was given to the ANSF. Experts feel that this has happened at such a time when the ANSF is not properly equipped, and it could prove detrimental for the security of the country.

President Karzai has persistently requested the international community, especially the US to help equip the AAF with latest equipment. Earlier in May, the U.S. had committed that it will buy 20 fighter jets for the AAF. It was confirmed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Spokesman, Brigadier General Gunter Katz.

“We know that the Afghan people are concerned about the equipment for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). And yes indeed, we already provided lot of equipments for the ANSF. But we have to acknowledge that there are still some shortfalls and we always said that individual nations sit together, discuss with representatives from the Government and the army how to overcome those shortfalls. And one example of those negotiations is the recent announcement of the US Air Force that declared that they are willing to buy 20 fighter air planes for the Afghan Air force,” ISAF Spokesman, Brigadier General Gunter Katz told TOLOnews.

The MoD expects that Afghan military forces will be equipped with fighter planes, transport planes and drones within few years.

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