WASHINGTON (APP) Pakistan has asked the United States to provide it much-needed attack helicopters to help bolster the countrys military operations against militants in the northwestern regions near the Afghan border. Senator John McCain, a ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a former US commander in Afghanistan, view Pakistans request favourably, according to a report in The Washington Times Wednesday. I have been ambassador here for two years, and all I have to show for it is eight second-hand Mi-17 transport helicopters for a war that requires helicopters to root out al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Pakistans ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, noted. According to the newspaper, Islamabad is seeking advanced US attack helicopters and other weapons as part of a comprehensive arms package to bolster preparations for a silent surge of more than 100,000 troops into the mountain lairs of militants. Ambassador Haqqani said, Military operations would have been quicker and much easier to plan and execute if we had the equipment. We have had tremendous attrition and a lot of loss of lives because of not having the right equipment, he pointed out. The $2.5 billion in arms that Pakistan has requested includes new helicopter gunships, including AH-1W and the Apache-64-D; armed helicopters, such as the AH-6 and MD-530 Little Bird; and utility and cargo helicopters, such as the UH-60 Black Hawk, the CH-47 D Chinook and the UH-1Y Huey, the report said. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said the US government is aware of its allys military equipment list. The Pakistani militarys interest in additional lift is well-known, and we have tried to help meet their needs by providing several Mi-17s. We will continue to try to help them acquire the helicopters and other equipment they require to defeat the insurgents and terrorists in their midst, Morrell said. The new silent surge, however, also has cost the lives of thousands of Pakistani soldiers, including generals. The ambassador said Pakistan has lost more than 600 officers affiliated with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), its powerful and influential military intelligence arm. Pakistan also has lost senior military officers in terrorist attacks. Pakistani military officials have said their forces have a total of just 26 combat and transport helicopters for a counterinsurgency war in a mountainous region where helicopters provide a critical advantage. The Pakistani military list also includes a request for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), among the newest and deadliest high-tech arms. Sen Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told The Washington Times that he was waiting for an assessment from the State Department and the Pentagon before commenting on the Pakistani arms request. Sen John McCain, Arizona Republican and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, voiced his support for meeting Pakistans request. In an interview he said, We ought to at least consider this request. But he also added that the U.S. should provide better training and maintenance for Pakistans military.McCain also noted that a year ago, no one would have predicted that Pakistans military would take on the Taliban and al-Qaeda redoubts in the tribal areas. There is a good argument to provide the equipment they need, he said. Retired Army Lt Gen David W Barno, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005, said the helicopters Pakistan wants would be useful to counterinsurgency operations. My sense is that all of those helicopters are useful in counterinsurgency operations, given the rugged terrain of western Pakistan, he said.