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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper Details Arms for Afghans

Russia is planning to supply Afghan anti-Taliban forces with tanks, armored vehicles and other arms worth up to $45 million in the coming weeks, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Thursday.

But Russia's ambassador to Tajikistan, through which the paper said Moscow would funnel weapons to Northern Alliance forces, said no Russian arms had arrived so far.

"Up to now there has been only humanitarian aid," the envoy, Maxim Peshkov, said at a news conference in Dushanbe, referring to planeloads of food, blankets and medical supplies that Moscow has begun sending to northern Afghanistan.

"There have been no guns or machine guns," he added.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, giving the first such comprehensive list of Russian hardware likely to be channeled to the UN-recognized Northern Alliance government, quoted defense sources as saying supplies would include 40 to 50 tanks, 60 to 80 armored personnel carriers and ammunition for them.

Russia would also supply Grad missile systems, artillery, mortars, anti-tank weapons and sniper rifles as well as Mi-24 attack helicopters and Mi-8 troop carriers.

"The total volume of military-technical assistance to the Northern Alliance up to the end of 2001 will be of the order of $30 million to $45 million," the newspaper said.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggested Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov might turn to Washington to foot the bill for the arms.