India says helicopter in custody of Taliban not of IAF

The Ministry of External Affairs also said that intense fight between the Taliban and the Afghan Army is an internal matter of Afghanistan.

New Delhi: India on Thursday said that the combat helicopter which had fallen into the Taliban hands in Afghanistan doesn’t belong to the Indian Air Force.

The Ministry of External Affairs also said that intense fight between the Taliban and the Afghan Army is an internal matter of Afghanistan.

Elaborating on the situation, External Affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “Situation on ground is evolving. That helicopter was not of Indian Air Force. All I can say is that it is Afghanistan’s internal matter and I would not like to comment on that aspect.”

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On Wednesday, one of the four Mi-24V helicopters that India gifted to the Afghanistan Air Force in 2019 was allegedly captured by the Taliban after they took over the Kunduz airbase.

 The Russian-designed Mi-24V attack helicopter is designated as Mi-35 for export.

Further a video also surfaced on social media, in which a Taliban operative was seen moving around the attack helicopter at Kunduz airbase.

However in the video, it was found that many critical parts were of the helicopter are missing. It is learnt that in October 2019, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar had handed the Mi-24V helicopters to Afghanistan’s National Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid at the Kabul Air Force base.

Two attack helicopters had already been delivered in May 2019. These helicopters had replaced four attack helicopters, again previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country.

Also way back in in 2018, Belarus, Afghanistan, and India had inked a trilateral deal to procure four Mi-24Vs in an effort to bridge Kabul’s air capability gap.

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