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Russia may resume arms sales to Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

09/06/2008 19:10 MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is considering resuming deliveries of Russian arms to Afghanistan, Russia's first deputy foreign minister said on Monday.

"We are working out parameters for resuming bilateral cooperation in this field with our Afghan colleagues, and we expect Afghanistan's defense minister to visit Moscow," Andrei Denisov said.

Faced with an increase in the activities of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, the Afghan authorities recently asked Russia to resume aid programs suspended in 2005. According to the diplomat, Russia has already rendered military technical aid to Afghanistan worth $220 million.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said in Moscow in May that the issue of resuming arms supplies to equip the Afghan army would be discussed during a visit by the defense minister.

Afghanistan began receiving Russian arms in the 1970s prior to the Soviet invasion of the Central Asian country. Although the supplies stopped with the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988, Soviet aircraft, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as well as the world-renowned Kalashnikov automatic rifle, have remained the basis of the Afghan army.

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