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Pakistan seeks new US deal after returning nine choppers

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is trying to reacquire an unspecified number of helicopters from the United States for anti-narcotics operations after returning nine Huey II helicopters it had acquired in 2002, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan returned five of the nine helicopters it had received almost 15 years ago. The ministry of interior, which was using the aircraft, returned four of these nine rotary-wing helicopters on Oct 15.

Pakistan had received a total of 12 aircraft — including three fixed-wing Cessna airplanes — from the United States for anti-narcotics operations in Fata and Balochistan. Since the area is also used by militants for carrying out operations along the Pak-Afghan border, the aircraft reported their activities as well, when observed. Primary purpose of the aircraft, however, was to monitor smuggling of narcotics as the region is connected to a major drug-route.

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