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ANA to receive 100,000 M-16 rifles: Afghan envoy

by Lalit K. Jha

Pajhwok Afghan News


The fledgling Afghan National Army (ANA) would soon receive 100,000 state-of-the-art M-16 rifles from the United States, a diplomat said here on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Afghanistan's Ambassador to the US Said Jawad said the ANA was expected to take delivery of the guns over the next few months.

The M-16s would replace the AK-47 or Kalashnikovs, boosting the fighting prowess of the army and bringing it close to the combat capacity of NATO and US forces stationed in Afghanistan, Jawad said.


"Any time we switch to better equipment comparable with that of NATO, it makes (security) operations a lot easier and helps forge closer coordination, the ambassador added.

However, this is not for the first time that M-16s are being supplied to Afghanistan. Some of the Afghan Special Forces have already been equipped with the rifles. So this would be a great boost for the ANA switching from AK-47s to M-16, he observed.

Jawad believed the existing number of security forces, including NATO, US and Afghan troops, is not enough to respond effectively to increased security challenges facing the country. "So, we have to simultaneously improve the quality of international troops and build ANA capacity."

Afghanistan had been facing a serious shortage of equipment, he pointed out, recalling the issue was recently discussed at the highest level. "There has been significant progress in this respect (meeting the shortfall).

"We have received a number of helicopters from our NATO partners. The plan to establish the Afghan Air Force is being finalized by the Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defence, he concluded.

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