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The AK-74 or "Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974" is an assault rifle developed in the early 70s by Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov as the replacement for the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47). It used a smaller 5.45x39mm cartridge, replacing the 7.62x39mm chambering of earlier Kalashnikov-pattern weapons. The rifle first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in 1979 Afghanistan conflict. The head of the Afghan bureau of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligences claimed that the CIA paid $5,000 for the first AK-74 captured by the mujaheddeen during the Soviet-Afghan War. Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR. Additionally, licensed copies were produced in Bulgaria (AK-74 AKS-74 and AKS-74U), the former East Germany (MPi-AK-74n, MPi-74n, MPi-AKS-74NK) and Romania (Pusca Automata model 1986). Besides former Soviet republics and eastern European countries, Mongolia, North Korean Special Forces, and Vietnamese People's Naval infantry use AK-74s.

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