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Officials, including Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and Commander of U.S. Central Command General Michael Kurilla, hold talks in Dushanbe, Tajikistan June 15, 2022. Picture taken June 15, 2022. Tajikistan's Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

US allows Tajikistan to hold on to Afghan aircraft

AT News

Kabul: The United States may allow Tajikistan to hold on to a fleet of Afghanistan’s military aircraft that sought shelter there after the U.S. withdrew from Kabul and Taliban rode to power last August, a U.S. military commander said.

US-trained Afghan pilots flew dozens of military planes and helicopters to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as they fled the Islamist Taliban who took over the country as foreign forces withdrew.

The Taliban have demanded that the two countries return the aircraft.

US Central Command commander Gen. Michael Kurilla visited Tajikistan over the weekend.

“We are grateful to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Tajikistan for continuing to secure the aircraft that the Afghan Air Force flew into the country last August,” he said in comments relayed by the US embassy.

“The United States is working with the Tajik government to determine the best way to effectively use and maintain the aircraft,” Kurilla said.

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