Taliban quest to build its own air force – Times of India

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KABUL: Two months after seizing power in Kabul, the Taliban have expressed their intention to bolster an air force of their own alongwith inventory and skillset among its ranks, reported a news piece published in knewz.
In the suspected ISIS-K attack on Kabul’s main military hospital Sardar Dawood Khan on Tuesday, which claimed the lives of at least twenty-three, three Taliban-piloted helicopters including a US Black Hawk deployed a quick reaction force onto the hospital’s roof to repel the ISIS terrorists.
“We are trying to use the previous government’s air force – the professionals that they had – and make sure they all return. The best policy for us is – whatever department is needed; we are going to have it,” knewz quoted spokesperson for the Taliban’s ministry of the interior, Qari Saeed Khosty as saying.
A high-ranking Kabul-based Taliban intelligence official stressed that having an air force is “compulsory”.
“No doubt, a full air force will be built soon – once the regime is fully established. It is not fully established yet,” knewz quoted a source as saying who claimed that the military academies and training centres have already been resumed.
Only days before the Taliban stormed into Kabul’s Presidential Palace, the Kandahar Air Force was seized and the photographs of the ranks posing with US mase Black Hawk helicopters, as well as the Soviet-manufactured Mi-17s were released by the Taliban.
“We are building an air force. Pilots who have been facilitating the flights, general amnesty has been announced, and we have asked them to come back and join the forces again and help their country,” knewz quoted Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi as saying.
The spokesperson for the ministry of defense, Enayatullah Khwaraizmi said that the aircraft that required “small repairs” have been fixed, and those with “major issues” are in the process of being revived now, reported knewz.
However, it is still unclear that how much of the equipment that the Taliban captured from the Afghan air force is operable.
As per the June 2021 assessment by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Afghan air force had more than 200 aircraft that included 167 planes.
The Taliban had captured nine major airbases across the country including the strategic provinces of Khost, Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Herat, thus foiling the US plans to destroy what was left at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul before its departure at the end of August.
The insider, however, said that the main focus of the Taliban is to use the aircraft only in urgent situations and not “not to waste resources”, reported knewz.
“An Air Force is needed for the Emirate’s (Taliban) survival. The previous engineers have come to fix the damaged aircraft – some even have the fuses removed – but they have fixed it. We are now flying based on need,” knewz quoted intelligence senior as saying.
“We already have helicopters, planes, and we have selected a minister to manage the air,” knewz quoted another Taliban leader as saying.
The Pentagon has not affirmed the operationality of the left aircraft.
However, the Taliban will undoubtedly be challenged in keeping up with the maintenance of the spare parts of advanced US aircraft, reported knewz.
The Taliban top leadership said that they are determined to become a “self-sufficient” force in view of the economic crisis gripping the country after the international community freezed the financial aid to the war-torn country.
Khwaraizmi highlighted that it is vital for the new Afghan military to be “fully independent” and said that the external cooperation policies will still be determined by the ministry of foreign affairs, reported knewz.
“Once Afghanistan has full control of its airspace, and there are no threats against him, Mullah Haibatullah will appear in public very soon,” knewz quoted director of information and culture in Kandahar, Malawi Noor Ahmad Saeed as saying.





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