US Hails Russia's Contribution to Afghan Mission

Washington, Jun 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti): The US recognises Russia's contribution to building a better future for the Afghan people and hopes for further cooperation in providing security in the war-torn Centarl Asian state, the US State Department said.

"We take note of the significant contribution to international security that has resulted from the arrangements between the United States and Russia - bilaterally and through NATO - to support ground and air transit into and out of Afghanistan," said a fact sheet released Monday after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama in Los Cabos.

"In accordance with these arrangements, over 2,200 flights, over 379,000 military personnel, and over 45,000 containers of cargo have been transported through Russia in support of operations in Afghanistan," the fact sheet said.

Moscow also signed a $367.5 million deal in 2011 with the US Defence Department for 21 Mi-17V5 transport/attack helicopters to expand the fleet of helicopters in service with the Afghan army.

In addition, Russia will train 30 Afghan helicopter technicians in 2012 to "enhance the capacity of the Afghan security forces to keep their fleet of helicopters mission-ready as they assume greater responsibility for Afghanistan's security".

All NATO combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Moscow is reportedly in talks with NATO on the so-called "multimodal" cargo transit from Afghanistan, which would "increase the efficiency of NATO withdrawal.

In line with the new scheme, cargos from Afghanistan would be delivered to the Russian Volga city of Ulyanovsk by plane, and then transferred to Europe by train.


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Title: US Hails Russia's Contribution to Afghan Mission

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