Date
29 May 2017
Alexander Mantytskiy (left) hands over an AK-47 rifle to Hanif Atmar during a ceremony Wednesday at a military airfield in Kabul. Photo: AFP
Alexander Mantytskiy (left) hands over an AK-47 rifle to Hanif Atmar during a ceremony Wednesday at a military airfield in Kabul. Photo: AFP

Afghanistan accepts Russian gift of 10,000 rifles, ammo

Officials in Afghanistan took delivery of a Russian gift of 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition Wednesday, another sign of deepening involvement by Moscow in the war-torn country.

Dependent almost entirely on foreign aid, Afghan security forces are struggling to secure the country amid a rising insurgency, Reuters reported.

As the military presence of the coalition led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dwindled last year, Afghan leaders reached out to Moscow, which fought a war of its own in Afghanistan during the 1980s, for more Russian-made weapons, including small arms, artillery and attack helicopters.

“This donation represents a deep friendship between two nations,” Afghan national security adviser Hanif Atmar said at an event marking delivery of the arms shipment.

“This important donation is from an important friend of Afghanistan in a crucial time for Afghanistan and the region.”

The guns and ammunition were provided under an existing security agreement between the two countries, he said.

Russia’s ambassador, Alexander Mantytskiy, told the gathered military and security officers that his country is willing to work with Afghanistan to combat problems like terrorism and drugs.

Wednesday’s delivery comes as Russian officials say they have become impatient with the failures of Washington’s policies in Afghanistan.

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