Kabul to speak with US over Mi-17s in Ukraine

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The Islamic Emirate said it will discuss with American officials the fate of helicopters designated for Afghanistan but given to the Ukraine by the US.

Earlier, SIGAR reported that 16 Mi-17 helicopters and 17 other pieces of military equipment which the US allocated for Afghanistan were given to Ukraine.

According to SIGAR, On January 19, DOD notified Congress that it intended to transfer five U.S.-procured former Afghan Mi-17 helicopters that had been undergoing maintenance in Ukraine to the Ukrainian government. Ukraine accepted these excess defense articles on March 11, 2022.

“In mid-April, President Biden announced a military assistance package to Ukraine that included an additional 11 Mi-17 helicopters that had been scheduled for Afghanistan,” SIGAR said in a recent report. “DOD also transferred nearly 16 million rounds of varied nonstandard munitions, originally procured for Afghanistan, to Ukraine.”

Analysts believe that the lack of recognition of the current Afghan government could be one of the obstacles for the US to hand over the aircraft to Afghanistan.

“There is a legal aspect–the Islamic Emirate has yet to be recognized by the US and other countries, therefore, the Americans believe that if they had a deal, it was with the former government. So, until the legitimacy of Islamic Emirate is solved, handing over Afghanistan’s property to the Islamic Emirate will face challenges,” said Javid Javid, a political analyst.

However, the Islamic Emirate said it will negotiate with the US officials to retake the helicopters.

“First of all, the traitors are those who fled with these helicopters from Afghanistan. Second, we are talking about the fate of them with the Americans and with the country’s where our helicopters are present. We are trying to bring the Afghanistan property back to Afghanistan,” Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said.

Earlier, the Islamic Emirate said more than 40 aircraft had been flown to neighboring countries of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan after the fall of the former government. The Islamic Emirate called on the countries to hand over these aircrafts to Afghanistan.—Agencies

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