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Czech Republic to send helicopters to Afghanistan
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09:38, November 06, 2007

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The Czech military is to hand the first batch of helicopters to Afghan armed forces representatives at Prague-Kbely airport in the second half of November, the Czech Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The Czech Republic will donate six transport Mi-17 helicopters and six Mi-24 combat helicopters to Afghanistan, local media reported earlier.

All 12 helicopters will be supplied to Afghanistan by the end of 2008. They are to become part of the newly formed Afghan air forces.

The Czech government approved the decision to donate 12 surplus combat and transport helicopters to Afghanistan in April in response to a request from NATO.

Apart from the helicopters, the Czech government also approved donating 30,000 automatic rifles and 650 machine guns for more than 30 million crowns (about 1.61 million U.S. dollars) at the beginning of this year.

However, some leaders of the opposition party disagreed with the donation of machine guns. The non-governmental Amnesty International also criticized the decision. The critics expressed the fear that the Czech gift could end up in the hands of anti-government forces.

Afghanistan is expected to receive the automatic rifles and machine guns by the end of this year.

Source: Xinhua



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