Chinese Y-20 military transport planes have delivered aid to Afghanistan after a devastating earthquake in the country’s southeast killed at least 1,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless. Quake aid totalling 105 tonnes was delivered via six Y-20 flights over three days to the Afghan capital Kabul, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported. The two latest flights left the Urumqi international airport in Xinjiang on Thursday morning, the report said. China’s far western Xinjiang region shares a short border with Afghanistan. #Latest Another batch of earthquake relief materials transported by #Chinese Air Force Y-20 plane arrived in #Afganistan this morning. The humanitarian assistance is donated by Red Cross Society of China to the Afghan Red Crescent Society. #AfganistanEarthquake pic.twitter.com/Qns8sk1nqZ — Ji Rong嵇蓉 (@JiRongMFA) June 30, 2022 Earlier, on Monday, Beijing announced that a chartered flight carrying the first batch of relief supplies – including tents and folding beds – had landed in Afghanistan, as part of a 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) emergency humanitarian aid package. China had pledged to send aid after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit a rural, mountainous area in southeastern Afghanistan early on June 22. At least 1,000 people were killed and 2,000 others injured, with more than 10,000 homes destroyed. The quake was a further blow for the country mired in humanitarian and economic crises since the Taliban took over in August last year. China reminds world millions of suffering Afghans need help The Y-20 missions highlighted the large military aircraft’s key role in recent Chinese aid efforts, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer said. “We have taken part in many international humanitarian aid missions in recent years, showing the important role the home-grown large transport aircraft plays in non-war military missions,” PLA Air Force officer Zhang Yu told CCTV. The Y-20, built by the Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation, is the biggest warplane in the PLA fleet. Missions in the past two years have included humanitarian aid delivery to Pakistan and Tonga, repatriating the remains of Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean war, as well as counterterrorism drills in Russia. Observers said China’s relief mission to Tonga after a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in January highlighted the PLA’s ability to conduct long-range operations. What Tonga aid mission says about China’s military modernisation The latest mission to Afghanistan was a first for the Y-20s. Crew said they had to overcome challenges including an unfamiliar route, mountainous terrain, complex weather conditions, unstable communication and aftershocks, CCTV reported. In April, six of the jumbo cargo planes, reportedly carrying missiles, took part in a multi-day, long-range mission to Serbia . They were also used to fly health workers and equipment to Shanghai to bolster its mass Covid-19 testing programme during a citywide lockdown. A recent article on Chinese news platform Guancha.cn said more than 70 of the Y-20s are in operation, with the total expected to soon exceed triple digits, putting China on course for the second-biggest fleet of military transport planes after the United States.