Afghan air corps demonstrates new capability

Posted in NATO | 26-Jun-08 | Source: NATO

KABUL, Afghanistan - The Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) recently demonstrated its new capability when it supported its first major operation for the Afghan National Army (ANA), moving more troops and cargo than ISAF.

For Operation Daor Bukhou (Turn Around), the Afghan air corps transported 910 people and 12,300 kilograms of cargo, while ISAF was only needed to transport 535 soldiers.

The operation began after claims that the Taliban had seized control of Arghandab district following prison break in Kandahar. The air corps immediately started re-tasking flights June 16 to move the first 166 people to the Kandahar province. During the next few days, the air corps transported the rest of the forces and cargo, which included two Mi-17 helicopters.

When Afghan National Army and ISAF units moved into the district, they confronted only light resistance from the insurgent forces and declared the region secure within 24 hours. Using their own aircraft, the air corps returned all ANA troops by June 22, with the exception of the two helicopters that remain in Kandahar to continue supporting ANA operations in the region.

“The air corps reacted quickly and was able to rapidly transport ANA combat capability to where it was required,” said U.S. Air Force Major Paul Browning with the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. “This capability with only grow in the future.”

The Afghan air corps is planning to increase its capability with two more An-32 transport aircraft by July 2008, six Mi-35 helicopters by September 2008 and 20 new C-27 transport aircraft by July 2009.