Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron-Russia -- asking for armament, The Wall Street Journal reports, Censor.NET informs.
President Ashraf Ghani has asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country's struggling military, Afghan and Russian officials say, after the U.S. and its allies pulled most of their troops from Afghanistan and reduced financial aid.
The Pentagon in the past purchased Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters, and Russia trained Afghan technicians to maintain them. But Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine in early 2014 prompted the U.S. to end that cooperation.
Providing Afghanistan with weapons will allow the Kremlin to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage, as well as raises potential for clash with U.S., the medium reports.
"Russia is seizing the opportunity," a U.S. official said.
Beyond such rivalries, however, the move also reflects Russian concerns that the deterioration of security in Afghanistan could destabilize Central Asia-and bring Islamic extremism closer to its own border, WSJ reports.