Russia is hoping ot maintain a presence in the Afghan helicopter market.
In an interview with Rossiya 24, Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation, said, “I think we will find a way to ensure that our helicopters are used in Afghanistan to protect the country’s legitimate government.”
To boost the Afghan Air Force, the U.S. is assisting the country in a major force overhaul, including of its helicopter fleet, through replacing Russian systems.
Earlier this year, four new UH-60 Black Hawks arrived to Kandahar to join the Air Force. The U.S. plans to supply Afghanistan with a total of 159 Black Hawks as part of an effort to overhaul the Afghan Air Force. The helicopters will replace aging Mi-17s currently in operation there.
Kozhin criticized the rearming of the Afghan military with American helicopters, stating, “All the methods and ways of anti-diplomatic pressure were employed to force Afghanistan into making this decision” on replacing the Russian helicopters with American ones.
Russian officials believe that despite the rearmament effort, Afghanistan remains interested in acquiring Russian helicopters and will continue to seek assistance in the maintainence of the helicopters in its military currently.