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Mi-35 attack helicopter gifted by India is now in Taliban hands

A video surfaced on social media, in which a Taliban operative is being seen moving around the attack helicopter at Kunduz airbase. In the video, the rotor blades, engine and several other critical components of the helicopter are missing.

Attack helicopter gifted by India is now in Taliban hands-VPN
Author
Kunduz, First Published Aug 11, 2021, 6:49 PM IST
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In a worrying development, one of the four Mi-24V helicopters that India gifted to the Afghanistan Air Force in 2019 has fallen into the hands of the Taliban at Kunduz airbase. 

The Russian-designed Mi-24V attack helicopter is designated as Mi-35 for export.

A video surfaced on social media, in which a Taliban operative is being seen moving around the attack helicopter at Kunduz airbase. In the video, the rotor blades, engine and several other critical components of the helicopter are missing.

The video emerged on the day when Russia, United States, China and Pakistan are holding extended talks to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, in Doha. 

In October 2019, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar had handed over the second pair of Mi-24V helicopters to Afghanistan's National Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid at the Kabul Air Force base. Two attack helicopters had already been delivered in May 2019. 

These helicopters had replaced four attack helicopters, again previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country.

Attack helicopter gifted by India is now in Taliban hands-VPN

With its combat performance and offensive firepower, the Mi-24V helicopters were to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Afghan Air Force and ensure that the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Force maintains an agile and robust counter-terrorism capability. 

In 2018, Afghanistan, Belarus, and India had inked a trilateral deal to procure four Mi-24Vs in an effort to bridge Kabul’s air capability gap. India had covered all the expenses related to the purchase. In addition to this, India had also delivered three HAL-built Cheetah light utility helicopters to Afghanistan in December 2016.

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