Russia gifts 10,000 automatic rifles to Afghanistan

Russia gives 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as gift to Afghan officials, as it attempts to forge deeper ties with the country

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy (L) hands over a Kalashnikov to Afghan national security adviser Hanif Atmar (R) after a conference at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan, February 24, 2016.

Updated Feb 25, 2016

Russia gave 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as a gift to Afghan officials on Wednesday, a sign of Moscow's deepening involvement in the war-torn country.

Afghan security forces, dependent almost entirely on foreign aid, are struggling to secure the country amid rising militant attacks.

After the NATO-led military presence in Afghanistan was reduced last year the country's leaders reached out to Moscow for more Russian-made weapons, including small arms, artillery and attack helicopters.

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

"This important donation is from an important friend of Afghanistan in a crucial time for Afghanistan and the region," Atmar said.

He added that the guns and ammunition were provided under an existing security agreement.

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

Wednesday’s delivery came as Russian officials criticised Washington, claiming they have become impatient with the failures of its policies in Afghanistan.

Although Russia isn’t a member of NATO, the country cooperated with the US over Afghanistan for years, allowing military supplies to travel through its territory and in other areas such as counter-narcotics and weapon supplies.

Cooperation has disappeared over time amid political rifts resulting from the wars in Ukraine and Syria. Top Russian officials have openly criticised the lingering American presence, while seeking deeper ties to the Kabul government as well as the Taliban.

TRTWorld, Reuters