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US, Russia to ink USD 367 mln helicopter deal for Afghanistan


Mi-17 helicopters

MOSCOW (PTI): The United States and Russia have finalised a USD 367-million deal for the supply of 21 Russian helicopters to Afghanistan and the contract will be inked shortly, according a media report.

"The Americans have informed me that the contract will be signed very soon. We expect to receive 21 Mi-17 helicopters by the end of the year," Afghan Air Chief General Abdul Wahab Wardak was quoted as saying by leading business daily Kommersant.

The negotiations have been going on for over a year on the deal to provide the badly-needed aircraft for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

With the price tag of USD 17.5 million the Mil Mi-17 is an export version of the Mi-8 helicopter, which has proved its capability in operating in high mountains in India and Pakistan.

NATO will support and maintain the helicopter park according to Michael Steiner the German special envoy for Af-Pak, Kommersant said.

Russia will also help train Afghan pilots.

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