The United States has been pressuring Afghanistan to ditch the thousands of free Kalashnikov assault rifles that it has received from Russia and buy American equivalents instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.
“The Americans insist that 50,000 Kalashnikov rifles with munitions that were handed over to the Afghan security forces free of charge be removed from operational use and Afghanistan buy US-made rifles and submachine guns instead,” Lavrov told Russian lawmakers Friday.
Russia has donated the weapons over the past few years, with at least 10,000 of them having been delivered in 2016.
Upon receiving the batch, Hanif Atmar, who is the national security adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, hailed the move as a sign of the “deep friendship between” Afghanistan and Russia.
“This important donation is from an important friend of Afghanistan in a crucial time for Afghanistan and the region,” he said at the time.