KABUL - Afghan officials took delivery of 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as a gift from Russia on Wednesday, another sign of deepening involvement by Moscow in the war-torn country.
Dependent almost entirely on foreign aid, Afghan security forces are struggling to secure the country amid a rising insurgency.
As the NATO-led coalition's military presence dwindled last year, Afghan leaders reached out to Moscow, which fought a war of its own in Afghanistan during the 1980s, for more Russian-made weapons, including small arms, artillery and attack helicopters.
"This donation represents a deep friendship between two nations," Afghan national security adviser Hanif Atmar said at an event marking delivery of the arms shipment. "This important donation is from an important friend of Afghanistan in a crucial time for Afghanistan and the region."
The guns and ammunition were provided under an existing security agreement between the two countries, he added.