KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan thanked the brotherly nation of Turkey for sending generous medical supplies that reached Kabul on Thursday to help that country’s fragile health system fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Ahmad Javad Osmani said the shipment came at a crucial time for Afghans in the fight against the coronavirus and vowed the aid will be distributed fairly among the most needy and vulnerable.

Turkish Ambassador Oguzhan Ertugrul highlighted the historic and brotherly ties between Afghanistan and Turkey and stressed this cooperation will further strengthen bilateral ties.

Letters from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani were exchanged.

“A Turkish Armed Forces aircraft, carrying the medical supplies, prepared by the Health Ministry at the direction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for use against the COVID-19 outbreak, took off from Ankara Etimesgut Airbase for Afghanistan,” the National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

It carried 10 ventilators, 10 defibrillators, 10 oxygen regulators, 3 PCR machines, 10 nebulizers and 30,000 COVID-19 RT-q PCR diagnostic test kits, 25,000 N95 face masks and 50,000 surgical and normal masks.

The aid also carried a message for Afghans.

“After hopelessness, there is so much hope, and after darkness, there is the much brighter sun,” it said, quoting the words of 13th century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi, who was born in Afghanistan and has his final resting place in Turkey.

Turkey has helped at least 125 countries with humanitarian aid during the outbreak, including the US, UK, Italy and Spain, making it the world’s third-largest provider of aid during the pandemic.

Afghanistan health officials announced Thursday in the last 24 hours results of 748 coronavirus tests in 12 provinces proved positive. The number of positive cases in the country stand at 22,890.

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