West to give over 150 military aircraft to Afghanistan
Afghanistan will receive more than 150 fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft from its Western allies over the next six years, the Afghan Defence Ministry said.
Afghanistan will receive more than 150 fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft from its Western allies over the next six years, the Afghan Defence Ministry said on Monday, quadrupling the size of its neglected air force.
Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, speaking during a parliament debate on Monday, said by 2016 the Afghan Air Force would have an additional 152 aircraft, bringing the total number to more than 200. The air force currently has 52 aircraft.
Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman General Zaher Azimy said they were working on obtaining the aircraft sooner.
"We have in our developmental plan to bring the delivery time to 2014. We are working on this," Azimy said, adding the United States would be the main provider.
The fleet will include 74 MI-17 transport helicopters as well as fixed-wing transport planes and fighter jets, Azimy said.
During the Soviet occupation of the 1980s and up until 1992, Afghanistan's air force had as many as 500 aircraft -- including 200 helicopters and 100 fighter jets -- and as many as 7,000 personnel.
Washington is sending an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan to bosst its eight-years invasion that has caused thousands of civilians were killed. There are already around 110,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including 68,000 Americans.
Reuters Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2009, 20:36