First All-Afghan C-130 Sortie

The Afghan air force flew a C-130 training sortie without aid from US advisors for the first time, announced Air Forces Central Command. “Me and my crew were very excited and very nervous about this flight, to do it without any help of others and an all-Afghan crew,” said Col. Aimal Sayedi, AAF Fixed Wing Squadron commander, of the June 16 flight. “That’s a very big step,” he said. The C-130H flew from Kabul to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on this mission. “The air force is back to life and we can do cargo, [casualty evacuation], and passenger movement from one province to another province,” added AAF 1st Lt. Khial Sinwari, co-pilot on the flight, after the sortie. Air Force instructors from the 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron have been training Afghan crews to operate the C-130H for the past 11 months. The Afghans conducted the self-sufficient flight eight months sooner than expected, according to AFCENT’s June 18 release. The AAF received its first C-130 last October, after the United States scrapped the deal providing refurbished C-27As.