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Monday, Sep 20, 2021

Can Taliban Fly? Video Shows Fighters Taxiing Captured US-Made Chopper

Can Taliban Fly? Video Shows Fighters Taxiing Captured US-Made Chopper

The video indicates that Taliban forces were attempting to train or operate the US-made transport helicopter after the fall of the key Afghan city.

A Twitter video of an Afghan Air Force UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter taxiing has been geo-located by experts to Kandahar airport in southeastern Afghanistan on August 18. This indicates that Taliban forces were attempting to train or operate the US-made transport helicopter after the fall of the key Afghan city.


Significantly, the large bulk of the Afghan Air Force's most potent military assets were flown out of the country on August 15 to prevent then from falling into the hands of Taliban fighters.

Satellite imagery from Planet Labs showed more than 40 Afghan Air Force aircraft were flown into Uzbekistan including 10 Brazilian made A-29 Super Tucano Light attack aircraft, which were used to drop laser guided bombs on Taliban targets. One A-29 was lost after reportedly colliding mid-air with Uzbek MiG-29 fighters while fleeing Afghanistan. Five attack choppers to have flown into Uzbekistan were Mi-25 choppers, funded by India in 2019 and supplied by Belarus.

According to the defence journal Janes, ''The arrival of the platforms at Termez Airport in southern Uzbekistan was reported by the local media on 16 August with commercial satellite imagery of the site subsequently confirming the relocation of a significant part of the AAF's fleet.'' As many as 600 Afghans were believed to have flown into the country with the aircraft and have sought asylum.

Meanwhile, the news channel Russia 1 has also broadcast footage of at least 12 Afghan transport aircraft having arrived at the Bokhtar Airport in Tajikistan.


While the Taliban have captured at least one A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and an MD-530F military helicopter at Mazar-e-Sharif airport on August 15, its unlikely that the Taliban would be able to use these aircraft for any period of time without sustained spares support.

In an interview to Defence News, General Mark Clark, who leads the US Air Combat Command sai,d, "They may actually be able to get it airborne... but they'd probably be more dangerous to their own well-being than they would [be] to people on the ground." That said, the General adds, "I'm not naive enough to not be able to envision a scenario where maybe - maybe - they could find pilots, that maybe the former Afghan air force pilots would be coerced to come over to their side."

The Afghanistan Air Force did not operate modern fighter aircraft with any significant capability at the time the Taliban took over relying instead on low technology platforms supplied keeping in mind the limited impact these would have if they fell into the wrong hands.

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