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Taliban Seize Indian Attack Chopper, Donated to Afghanistan, After Taking Over Kunduz Airport

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: August 11, 2021, 21:53 IST

New Delhi

A cyclist rides past a booth with a Taliban flag in the main square of the northern city of Kunduz that was captured by the Taliban. (Representational image from AFP)

A cyclist rides past a booth with a Taliban flag in the main square of the northern city of Kunduz that was captured by the Taliban. (Representational image from AFP)

The Taliban were seen on social media posing next to an Mi-24 attack helicopter, which India had donated to Afghanistan in 2019 as part of a deal between Kabul & Belarus.

The Taliban has reportedly seized one of the four attack helicopters donated by India to Afghanistan in 2019, after they overpowered the airport in Kunduz, which is located in the northern province. The Taliban were seen on social media posing next to an Mi-24 attack helicopter, the livemint reported.

India had gifted the four Mi-24V attack choppers to the Afghan Air Force along with three Cheetah Light Utility Helicopters. The attack helicopters were reportedly given as part of an agreement between Afghanistan and Belarus, which was financed by New Delhi. This apart, India also imparted training to Afghan aircrews.

The seizure of the Indian choppers comes as the Taliban intensifies its offensive in the strife-torn region as foreign troops complete their withdrawal. The rebels have now captured seven to eight provincial capitals. The loss of Faizabad, capital of the northeastern province of Badakhshan, was the latest setback for the Afghan government, which has been struggling to stem the momentum of Taliban assaults as US-led foreign forces leave.

The US intelligence said it would take just about 90 days for the Taliban to take over Afghanistan capital, Kabul. The new assessment of how long Kabul could stand was a result of the rapid gains the Taliban had been making around the country.

The capture of the Indian chopper also comes at a time when the Afghan security forces sought “robust air support” from India. The call for help came as the Ashraf Ghani government is concerned that the Taliban “will most definitely” escalate their level of violence once the US forces withdraw troops completely by August 31.

In the wake of the military offensive by the Taliban, India has asked all Indian nationals to immediately return home. In its latest security advisory, New Delhi asked all Indian nationals visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to keep themselves updated on the availability of commercial flights from various parts of Afghanistan and make immediate travel arrangements to return home before air travel is discontinued.

“Indian companies operating in Afghanistan are strongly advised to immediately withdraw their Indian employees out of project sites in Afghanistan before air travel services get discontinued. Indian nationals working for Afghan or foreign companies in Afghanistan should immediately request their employer to facilitate their travel from project sites to India. They can also contact the Embassy at the contact details provided in the Advisory”, the advisory further said.

(With Reuters inputs)

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first published:August 11, 2021, 21:51 IST
last updated:August 11, 2021, 21:53 IST
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