Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek said on Tuesday the 260 million koruna ($14.6 million) Czech—U.S. deal will be signed this month and that Washington will finance the training.

Officials say Afghan and American pilots will be trained in the Czech Republic to fly Russian—made Mi—17 transport helicopters.

Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek said on Tuesday the 260 million koruna ($14.6 million) Czech—U.S. deal will be signed this month and that Washington will finance the training.

Martina Fiserova of Lom Praha SP, a Defence Ministry company that will do the training, says some 360 pilots and other personnel - two thirds of them from Afghanistan - are expected to have the instruction in the next two years.

The choppers are widely used in Afghanistan. NATO pilots, including Americans, either fly them or serve as flight instructors for the Afghan air force.

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