Afghans Make Herculean Airlift Leap

The Afghan air force became the newest C-130 operator with the arrival of two C-130Hs at Kabul International Airport from the United States, according to a base release. “Today’s acceptance ceremony reflects a significant increase in [the AAF’s] capabilities that almost doubles [its] ability to provide troop transport, resupply and [casualty evacuation] operations,” said Brig. Gen. John Michel, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan commander, during the Oct. 9 event. “I promise to my leadership and the US leadership that we will maintain these airplanes, keeping them safe and operational,” said Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, AAF commander, at the ceremony. Two Afghan pilots have already completed C-130 training in the United States, with additional pilots in the pipeline and flight engineers and loadmasters scheduled to begin training shortly, states the release. The C-130s join five other aircraft types in the AAF’s inventory: MD-530 helicopters and Cessna 182s for training; Cessna 208s and Mi-17 helicopters for roles such as transportation and CASEVAC; and Mi-35 helicopters for attack. (Kabul report by SSgt. Torri Ingalsbe) (See also C-130 Transfer to Afghan Air Force Eyed.)