Russia ready to help NATO in AfghanistanJuly 1st, 2010 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, July 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia is willing to provide transport helicopters to assist the NATO-led military contingent fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan, a defence official said Thursday.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, said Russian An-124 Condor cargo planes had transported over 88,000 metric tonne of cargo for NATO troops in Afghanistan under the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (SALIS) project.
“The aircraft leasing mechanism successfully used in the SALIS project could be applied to heavy-lift transport helicopters for NATO forces carrying out missions in remote areas (of Afghanistan),” Dzirkaln said at a meeting on cooperation between Russia and NATO.
“Russian Mi-26T Halo helicopters of this class have already demonstrated their unique capabilities and performed well in Afghanistan,” the official said.
The Mi-26T has been serving NATO troops in Afghanistan for more than three years.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has about 120,000 troops in Afghanistan. A total of 46 countries are involved in security efforts in the war-ravaged country.
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