Publish dateTuesday 20 September 2022 - 14:11
Story Code : 258836
US looks to trade Afghan aircraft
According to two people with knowledge of the talks. The U.S. is negotiating with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to trade nearly 50 military aircraft flown across the border as the Afghan government collapsed last summer for help hunting terrorists in Afghanistan.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Monitoring, The new rulers, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), have insisted the aircraft — a mixture of light attack planes and helicopters — are Afghan property and demanded them back.
But Uzbek authorities say they are the property of the United States and will not be returned.
According to Politico, little has been said publicly about the issue, in part because of the sensitivity of Afghan-Uzbek relations and Russia’s economic and military influence in Central Asia.
But they reported that behind the scenes, U.S. officials have been quietly working to use the aircraft as leverage to gain a foothold in a region where the U.S. military no longer has a presence on the ground, according to a senior Defense Department official and a congressional aide with direct knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to Politico, the official said the goal is to provide a number of aircraft to the Uzbek and Tajik governments in exchange for an informal agreement to “deepen our security relationships” on border security and counterterrorism.
The deal could include anything from increased intelligence sharing to, in the long-term, basing troops or aircraft in those countries as a regional staging post.
Both countries border Afghanistan and are much closer than the American bases hundreds of kilometers away in the Middle East.
Both Central Asian countries are “certainly very interested” in keeping those aircraft, the senior DoD official said.
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