Afghans take delivery of US transport planes

October 9, 2013 - 1:35 PM

APTOPIX Afghanistan

Afghan National Army and International Security Assistance Force personnel gather near a C-130 transport aircraft during a handover ceremony at the Afghan Air Force Base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Afghanistan took delivery on Wednesday on two C-130 transport aircraft from the United States, part of an effort to give the country’s military the ability to better fight insurgents around the country. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan took delivery on Wednesday of two C-130 transport aircraft from the United States, part of an effort to give the country's military the ability to better fight insurgents around the country.

Afghanistan will get another two of the airplanes, a mainstay of many militaries around the world, by the end of next year. The plane gives the nascent Afghan air force the ability to quickly ferry forces around the country along with their equipment and supplies.

The two planes were turned over during a ceremony at Kabul airport. They will replace 16 smaller Italian-made transport craft that were grounded because of maintenance problems.

Afghanistan's air force is mainly made up of Russian-made transport helicopters and a handful of Russian attack helicopters.

The country's army and police took over responsibility for security around the country from foreign forces earlier this summer, part of a plan that will see the full withdrawal of international combat troops by the end of 2014. The withdrawal has led to an escalation of violence as insurgents try to retake territory around the country.

Much of that violence has been in the south, where on Wednesday a suicide car bombing killed four people —two civilians and two policemen.

Helmand province police spokesman Shamem Noorzai said the attack took place in the Gareshk district and also wounded three civilians and a police officer. He added that the bomber targeted a police patrol and blew up his car next to a police vehicle in a crowded area of the town of Gareshk.

Helmand's provincial spokesman, Omer Zwak, said another attack, this one in Gramsir district, killed two people when the fuel truck they were driving in struck a roadside bomb.