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Afghan Air Force takes off

In the early 1980s Afghanistan had a strong
and capable air force. But in the civil war all that changed. Along with much of the country’s
infrastructure, the air force was destroyed. Today Afghanistan’s air force, built with
the assistance of the international community, is still a work in progress, but one that
has come a long way in a short space of time. “Our air force has a great history. But we’ve
had to start from zero. We’re still taking our first steps. The pilots are all well trained
at flying the planes and have great morale. This is our country and we will defend it.”
This flight, departing from Kabul Airport and transporting Afghan soldiers across the
country, is the biggest so far in which Afghan-only flight crews have flown on active missions
without the guidance of their ISAF mentors. “Today is a big day for all Afghans, because
we are flying independently on four missions to different provinces, and all the pilots,
engineers and crew are Afghans.” This is a significant step in a process that
started in 2007 when the US-led international Combined Air Power Transition Force outlined
a proposal to rebuild and modernise the Afghan Air Force.
The handing over of aircraft such as C-208 planes and Mi-17 helicopters by the coalition
to the Afghans, demonstrates the faith the international community is now prepared to
place in the Afghan Air Force. “C-208 planes are used for transportation
purposes. They are high-tech planes developed in 2008. These planes can deliver up to eight
soldiers and cargo to different provinces and they also evacuate the casualties of war.”
“Equipping the Afghan Air Force with helicopters has led to improved morale in the infantry
forces on the ground. It is very important for a country to have a strong air force,
and it plays a vital role in providing security.” But it isn’t just the equipment that has improved.
These two Afghan pilot instructors are the first to graduate from a course at Shindand
Airbase in western Afghanistan currently run by coalition forces. They will now join their
foreign counterparts in helping to train more Afghan pilots.
“It is an honour, and I am happy that after a long period of war in this country, we are
now able to train Afghan pilots in our own country instead of sending them abroad.”
“They will be working side by side with the coalition instructors for the next few years.
And as we develop more Afghan instructor pilots, then the coalition instructor pilots will
be able to start trickling back home and the Afghan Air Force will take over for all instructing
operations here in Shindand.” The Afghan air force still has a long way
to go before it is considered fully and independently functional, and the international community
has recognised this by pledging financial and training support for the foreseeable future.
However, these are still significant steps as the air force once again develops into
a key part of the country’s security force. This is Sayed Mansoor reporting for the NATOChannel
in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Tony wyaad



  1. NATO Posted on October 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Watch how the Afghan Air Force is once again developing into an important part of the security forces in #Afghanistan .

  2. decumoose Posted on October 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    combined with a medical infrastructure it could be of great benefit to a fractured country.,hope all goes well.

  3. Jay Posted on October 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Good luck to the people of Afghanistan.

  4. NormDesignIRE Posted on October 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I think its great to see them taking control of their own air force.

  5. MN Nourzay Posted on October 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I hope that our Air Force is up and running efficiently very soon

  6. daus wahab Posted on October 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Good luck and all the best AAF.

  7. AFGBoy kingoftheworld Posted on April 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Will try my best to help afghanistan rebuild