US hails India’s donation of helicopters to Afghanistan

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As Afghanistan seeks to continue the peace process with the extremist Taliban, the US has hailed India’s decision of donating three Mi-35 Indian multi-role helicopters to Afghanistan. According to the outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan General John Campbell,
this decision by India has made a big difference in the offensive against militants in the war-torn country. The three helicopters were donated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kabul in December 2015.

“They do have three Mi-35s, Mi-24s and Mi-35s from India. They’ll have a fourth one coming in pretty soon that will add to their inventory,” Mr Campbell told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan on February 2.
During Mr Modi’s visit to Afghanistan, the two countries decided to step up cooperation in security. In his address to Afghanistan’s Parliament, Mr Modi had strongly condemned terrorism in the country and pledged support to Afghanistan in combating terror.

The Mi-35 is a comprehensive upgrade of the Mi-24. The Mi-35 is a versatile helicopter gunship with troop carrying capabilities. In January, three multi-role Mi-35 attack helicopters were donated by India. These three helicopters were inducted into the Afghan Air Force, giving the country’s security forces much-needed lethal capability against militant groups like the Taliban.

The Indian gift to Afghanistan has been hailed by the people and government of Afghanistan, apart from the US. After having commanded US and international forces in Afghanistan for the past 18 months, Mr Campbell is scheduled to retire soon. Lieutenant General John Nicholson has been chosen by President Barack Obama to replace Mr Campbell.

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