U.S officials formally delivered four Brazil-made Super Tucano attack aircraft to the Afghan defense ministry on Friday in an effort to help embattled Afghan security forces carry out their counter-insurgency missions in the volatile country in days to come.
After receiving the first batch of Super Tucano combat aircrafts, acting minister of defense Masoom Stanekzai said that the planes will be used in battles against the militants in Nangarhar and Helmand provinces.
The four attack aircrafts are capable of using 34 types of ammunition and use three of them at a single time.
The dispatch as donation is the first instalment of the mutually agreed deal between Afghanistan and the United States. The delivery of four combat aircraft is part of the US’s commitment to deliver at least 20 Super Tucano aircraft to Afghan forces.
“Our air force still needs more equipment, the combat aircraft could play a key role at bolstering security in the country,” Stanekzai told reporters at Hamid Karzai International Airport after receiving the aircrafts.
The next batch of aircraft are expected to arrive in March.
Meanwhile, Afghan chief of army staff general Qadam Shah Shaheem has said that the combat aircraft are designed to target heavily fortified enemy positions with the help of its laser technology.
Shaheem said that the combat aircraft are equipped with the latest technology enabling them to conduct flights at any climate situation and war situations and hit targets with the help of its laser technology.
“These combat aircraft will have positive results, we try to use them properly as we wait more aircraft in the future,” he said.
The U.S has provided training to Afghan pilots to fly the planes.
“I want to assure my countrymen that we are fully prepared and able to operate these planes,” Afghan pilot Mahbubullah Muradi said.
India has delivered three Russian-made attack helicopters to Afghanistan amid the ongoing offensive by Taliban militants in the war-torn country. The three Mi-25 aircraft were transported in a C-17 Transport plane operated by the Indian Air Force.
The three Mi-25 aircrafts were handed over to Afghan air force on the day when India prime minister Narendra Modi was on a day long state visit to Afghanistan where he also inaugurated the new Afghan parliament building.
Following the renovation of Afghan air force, Kabul has received more than a hundred attack helicopters, transport planes and others by its international partners particularly the United States and India.
Before the delivery, the US Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) had expressed deep concerns over the security of the Afghan pilots who are expected to be dispatched to the United States for training and whether the plan is compatible with the US mission in Afghanistan.
In a letter to then US defense secretary Chcuk Hagel, John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan Reconstruction, or SIGAR wrote: “I am concerned that the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars.”
The U.S. government spent $486 million to buy and refurbish 20 older C-27A airplanes from Alenia, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA, but later canceled the program because a lack of spare parts was severely limiting their availability for military use.
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