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Afghanistan and Russia to sign delivery deal for Mi-35 helicopters

By
Ryan Maass
An Afghan air force Mi-35 helicopter takes off from Kabul, Afghanistan. 38th Air Expeditionary Wing photo by Sgt. Matthew Smith
An Afghan air force Mi-35 helicopter takes off from Kabul, Afghanistan. 38th Air Expeditionary Wing photo by Sgt. Matthew Smith

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Afghanistan and Russia are set to sign an agreement for the delivery of Mi-35 gunship helicopters as Afghan forces seek to boost their capabilities.

Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's representative to Afghanistan, says the agreement is expected to be signed this month. The details of the agreement are unknown, however Khaama Press reports Russia will provide Afghanistan with both the weapons and training. This comes as further reports say First Vice President, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has requested military assistance from Moscow.

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Sputnik International reports the agreement is part of a longer process and that Russian support for Afghanistan will continue.

"Russia is already providing certain assistance in strengthening the capabilities of the Afghan government forces," Kabulov said.

News of the agreement comes as the Taliban continues to pose more of a threat to the Afghan security forces. The security forces were able to recapture parts of the city of Kunduz on Thursday. Militant activity has drawn concerns from the Pentagon, with some officials saying U.S. troops need to remain in the country longer than planned.

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Army Gen. John Campbell, the United States' top military commander in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee plans need to be adjusted to combat gains made by Taliban and other regional threats like the Islamic State, a radical Sunni insurgency also identified as Daesh and by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

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