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Official: Kabul needs Russian-made combat helicopters to counter terrorists

"We have a common enemy with Russia and other countries of the region," Hanif Atmar, security adviser to the Afghan president said

MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Afghanistan interested in buying Russian-made Mi-35 combat helicopters to combat terrorists, Hanif Atmar, security adviser to the Afghan president, told TASS on Monday.

"We need combat helicopters and other weapons to rebuff terrorist groups acting in the Afghan territory more efficiently," he said. "Now we have obsolete modifications of Russian combat helicopters. We would like to replace them by more modern Mi-35 rotorcraft and to organize training of pilots and technical personnel to service these helicopters. This is issue is of top priority importance for us at the moment."

According to Atmar, a symbiosis of terrorist groups, including the Taliban movement, militants enjoying support from Pakistan’s and Central Asian radical Islamic organizations, al Qaeda and Islamic State, are acting in the territory of Afghanistan.

"In this sense, we have a common enemy with Russia and other countries of the region," he said. "However we have no common strategy of countering this enemy. We think that it is necessary to involve countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to the elaboration of such strategy, and Russia has a special role in these efforts."

Touching on Afghanistan’s prospects for a full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where it is currently enjoying an observer status, Atmar stressed that Kabul relies on Moscow’s assistance as no consensus has yet been reached on that matter within the SCO. He said his country is ready for the SCO membership and is capable of fulfilling all the requirements of the organization’s founding documents.