Dozens of planes were flown to neighboring countries after Kabul fell last year
Warplanes smuggled out of Afghanistan fleeing US-backed troops after the Taliban retook the country last year could now slip into Ukraine, warned Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan.
Russian news agency RIA Novosti asked Kabulov on Tuesday to comment on the fate of Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters that the United States originally purchased for the Afghan armed forces in the 2010s but ended up deliver to Ukraine in the spring in order to fight Russia. .
Kabulov did not rule out similar incidents in the future. “There can be no guarantees with the United States because they are not able to negotiate”, he said.
“It is important for us that the helicopters and planes that were transported to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan by the fleeing Afghan commanders and soldiers do not reach Ukraine,” he added. said the Russian diplomat.
He added that about 60 planes were moved from Afghanistan to Tajikistan and about 40 to 50 to Uzbekistan after the Taliban took over.
Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine at the end of February. RIA Novosti quoted a diplomatic source in May as saying that Turkey was recruiting Afghan nationals in Iran to send them to fight Russian forces in Ukraine.
Kabulov said the Taliban had assured that they would not allow the country’s fighters to travel to Ukraine. However, some former Afghan commandos have joined the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and are fighting in Iraq and Syria, he said.
“Another part of these former commandos joined the Ukrainian Nazis as mercenaries. They have apparently been offered money because they need to live off something,” said Kabulov.
The envoy’s comments came after Reuters cited an unpublished report by Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that warned former Afghan security personnel are at risk of be recruited by Russia, China and Iran.
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