Taliban seize Mi-35 attack helicopter gifted by India

Taliban insurgents have reportedly seized a helicopter that was gifted to Afghanistan by India in 2019. One of the four attack helicopters donated by India to Afghanistan has been seized by the Taliban after they took over the airport in Kunduz, in the northeast of the country. Pictures and videos on Twitter show Taliban cadres standing next to a Mi-24 attack helicopter.

Reports said that the chopper is not in flying condition due to a snag in its engine. However, the rotor blades of the attack helicopter were missing and reports have suggested that the Afghan forces may have removed them earlier in order to prevent the Taliban from using the chopper. It is also being speculated that besides removing its rotor blades, the Afghan air force personnel also must have incapacitated the helicopter by denuding it of its combat capabilities and engine. However, it cannot be independently verified. The Kunduz city fell to Taliban on Sunday and today the insurgents expanded their control to airport and other bases following the surrender of Afghan troops and police. Back in 2019, India gifted the Mi-24 attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force along with three Cheetah light utility helicopters. The attack helicopters were given under a deal between Afghanistan and Belarus, but financed by India. The Mi-24 helicopters were given to the Afghans as a replacement for four attack helicopters that were gifted in 2015. The capture of the Indian helicopter comes as the Taliban and Afghan security forces are locked in a fierce battle for the country with news reports saying that seven to eight provincial capitals were now in control of the rebels.