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The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have been enhancing their counter-insurgency capabilities. India has recently delivered to Afghanistan the first two of four refurbished Russian-built Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters promised in 2018.
India has been one of the largest donors to Afghanistan and has committed $3 billion in aid since 2001, according to indiatimes.com.
Purchased from Belarus, the two Mi-24s “are a replacement for the four attack helicopters previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015,” said the Indian embassy in Kabul, adding that the gifted platforms are set to enhance the ANDSF’s effectiveness in “combating the scourge of terrorism”.
According to janes.com, the statement referred to four refurbished Mil Mi-25 assault helicopters India delivered to the ANDSF in April 2015 as part of a bilateral strategic agreement the two countries. India, however, has declined to elaborate on whether these Mi-25s have been lost operationally or simply become inoperative.
“Two more of the same type will be purchased and supplied to the Afghan Air Force in order to make the aerial operations more effective,” according to a tweet from the acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid.
When the Soviet Union developed their Mil M-24 attack helicopter in the late 1960’s, they wanted a military helicopter that could provide close air support to ground troops and still be able to bring in reinforcements and take out casualties.
The Mil Mi-24 features an extremely armored cockpit as well as a staggering array of internal and external weapons. Its seen action in nearly every conflict that the Soviet Union has engaged in since its first release in 1976, according to militarymachine.com. The most notable action was seen in the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, where it was used to great effect for close air support of troops, attack missions, and medical evacuations.