KABUL: The Afghan defense ministry said the US has bought six Black Hawks for Afghan Air Force and will hand over the helicopters next week.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday said six Black Hawk helicopters will be handed over to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) by next week.
The Black Hawks will eventually replace the Russian Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters currently in use by the AAF.
A few months ago, the United States announced that it will provide the Afghan Air Force with 150 Black Hawks and other aircraft over the next four years.
According to the MoD, the air force will take delivery of the first Black Hawks next week.
“We need Black Hawks to overcome a number of challenges including transferring supplies, eradicating enemy strongholds, evacuating patients and wounded and also transferring supplies to check-posts that are located in mountains,” defense ministry spokesman, Dawlat Waziri said.
Afghan security officials and parliament members meanwhile said they hope that the new Black Hawks enable and empower the air force in their fight against insurgents.
“In the current situation, if the number of helicopters and aircraft are increased, it will resolve army challenges to some extent,” MP Abdul Jabar Qahraman said.
A number of former military officers however said air force equipment costs a lot of money and that it will take years for the AAF to stand on its feet.
“We need fighter helicopters. If right now we have two fighter helicopters, we can free the two military bases that are under siege in Ghormach,” former military officer, Mohsin Mukhtar said.
The Pentagon said a while back that it has invested $7 billion USD in the Afghan Air Force and that it is trying to double the number of troops in the next four years.