Afghan Election Operations Accentuate Room for Growth

The Afghan air force has had its first taste of full-scale operations, providing airlift in support of last month’s parliamentary elections, according to Brig. Gen. David Allvin, commander of NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan. That effort highlighted both the nascent air force’s progress and its need for growth, particularly in the area of command and control, Allvin told reporters Thursday during a telecon from his Kabul headquarters. “They did tremendously well” in supporting the Sept. 18 election, but the effort “was harder than it needed to be,” he said. The Afghans logged 225 flight hours, lifting 150,000 pounds of supplies and 530 election workers, supporting 200 polling stations, he said. But “there were several occasions where air assets weren’t used as efficiently as they could have been,” said Allvin. Explaining NATO’s key goals for the air arm, he underscored the importance of “centralized management” and “decentralized execution” in order to maximize the Afghans’ limited assets.