Afghan Air Force (AAF)

WolfPack86

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Afghanistan to Get 150 Scout Helicopters by 2022
The U.S. military ordered 150 MD-530F high-altitude scout helicopters for the Afghan Air Force.

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) is slated to receive 150 new MD530 F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters by 2022 bringing the total number of MD530 Fs operated by the Afghan Defense and National Security Forces (ANSDF) to almost 180.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced on September 5 that it has issued a $1.38 billion contract to MD Helicopters “for procurement of an estimated quantity of 150 MD 530F aircraft and required production support services to include program management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance.” The estimated completion date of the contract is 2022.

According to a MD Helicopters press release, the first deliveries under the contract will be 30 MD 530Fs for an estimated $177 million. The first part of the order is expected to be completed by September 2019. The AAF received the last batch of four MD-530F helicopters in August 2017. There are currently 27 MD-530Fs operated by the AAF in Afghanistan. As I reported previously (See: “Afghanistan’s Newest Attack Helicopter a ‘Total Mess’?”), a number of AAF pilots have criticized the size and capabilities of the helicopters in the past.

“Mission Equipment for these aircraft will include a ballistic crash worthy fuel system, consisting of a main fuel tank and a 38-gallon Auxiliary Fuel Tank, high capacity landing gear, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS) weapons plank and Fixed-Forward Sighting System, Rohde & Schwarz M3AR Tactical Mission Radio, and FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods,” MD Helicopters notes in the September 6 press statement.

The new sighting system is closing a critical capability gap of the MD-530F gunships in service with the AAF, since the first MD-530Fs lacked proper gun sights making them less efficient in close-air-support missions. The helicopters, however, still use only unguided munitions (2.75-inch rockets), which has led to a step increase in civilian casualties over the last year. As I noted in 2016, it is important to remember that air power alone will not be enough to help turn the tide in the ongoing war (See: “Afghanistan: Will the Afghan Air Force Make A Difference in the 2016 Fighting Season?”):

What will determine the impact of (…) new aircraft more than anything else, however, is how the A-29 [530MDFs] will be used during [this year’s] fighting season by senior Afghan military leadership, since this will have an direct impact on the military culture of the ANA for the years to come. (…)

Overall, the induction of the A-29 light attack aircraft [and MD 530F] will bring the ANDSF a step closer to becoming a more professional fighting force. However, we should not expect that the new planes will be able to reverse overall battlefield failures and the aircraft will certainly not be capable of guaranteeing battlefield successes on its own.

In 2016, AAF pilots conducted 800 airstrikes on 1,992 combat missions. A Pentagon plan calls for an increase of the AAF from currently 124 aircraft up to 259, and from 8,000 personnel to 12,000. The AAF is expected to receive $7 billion in support over the next four years, according to a senior U.S. military officer. The AAF continues to suffer from maintenance issues and it is unclear whether the AAF will have enough trained pilots by 2022 to man the new helicopters.
https://thediplomat.com/2017/09/afghanistan-to-get-150-scout-helicopters-by-2022/

 

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Afghanistan receives first recently ordered MD 530F helos
Afghanistan has received the first five of 30 new MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft that were ordered 12 months ago, the manufacturer announced on 11 September.

The helicopters, which are part of a wider US Department of Defense (DoD) order for 150 MD 530F/MD 530G platforms to equip allied air arms, arrived at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan aboard a US Air Force (USAF) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft.

As noted by MDHI, these MD 530Fs will be reassembled and tested over the next 10 days before being handed over to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) for operations alongside the 25 helicopters delivered from 2011 to 2016 (a further two delivered, but one was subsequently lost to an improvised explosive device and the other to an accident). The remaining 25 helicopters from this latest order will be delivered over the next 12 months, for a final AAF fleet of 55.

While the previously delivered MD 530Fs (known as ‘Jengi’ [Warrior] in AAF service) were equipped with a standard avionics, the new aircraft have a ‘glass’ cockpit. They also have a ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system that features self-sealing fuel cells; crashworthy bladders compliant to MIL-DTL-27422 (the standard for crash- and ballistic-resistant fuel systems); gravity feed auxiliary fuel transfer; compatibility with the 38-gallon Little Bird Auxiliary Tank System (LBATS); accessibility for easy maintenance; and a ‘combat proven performance’.

All AAF MD 530Fs are fitted with the Enhanced Mission Equipment Package (EMEP). The baseline Mission Equipment Package (MEP) comprises the FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun Pod (HMP) that features the company's M3 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) machine gun.
https://www.janes.com/article/82916/afghanistan-receives-first-recently-ordered-md-530f-helos

 

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Afghanistan receives final MD 530F helos
Afghanistan has received the last of 60 MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft that have been delivered from 2011.

The final five Cayuse Warriors, which were part of a follow-on batch of 30 helicopters ordered by the US Army under a wider USD1.4 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) effort for allied nations, were delivered to Kandahar via a Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on 27 October. The manufacturer announced the arrival on 24 November.

As noted by MDHI, all five helicopters have now been reassembled and are now in operational service with the Afghan Air Force (AAF). Taking battlefield losses and accidents into account, Jane's understands that the AAF has an active inventory of 55 MD 530F helicopters at its disposal. However, neither the US 438th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) that trains and assists the AAF nor MDHI was able to confirm this number by the time of publication.

While early MD 530Fs (known as 'Jengi' [Warrior] in AAF service) delivered between 2011 and 2016 were equipped with standard avionics, the newer aircraft have a 'glass' cockpit (the older aircraft are likely to be upgraded to this same standard over time). They also have a ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system that features self-sealing fuel cells; crashworthy bladders compliant to MIL-DTL-27422 (the standard for crash- and ballistic-resistant fuel systems); gravity feed auxiliary fuel transfer; compatibility with the 38-gallon Little Bird Auxiliary Tank System (LBATS); accessibility for easy maintenance; and 'combat proven performance'.

All AAF MD 530Fs are fitted with the Enhanced Mission Equipment Package (EMEP). The baseline Mission Equipment Package (MEP) comprises the FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun Pod (HMP) that features the company's M3 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) machine gun. The HMP, which is carried on external weapons planks, has a rate of fire of 1,100 rds/min and a 400-round ammunition box.
https://www.janes.com/article/92818/afghanistan-receives-final-md-530f-helos
 

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US plans to provide CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Afghanistan
The Pentagon’s semiannual report “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” revealed that Washington plans to provide Ch-47 helicopters to Afghanistan’s Special Mission Wing.

"The United States continued to provide the ANDSF [Afghan National Security Forces] the necessary equipment and training to improve their capacity during this reporting period and focused advisory efforts at the “point of need” with reliable security partners to increase their effectiveness. DoD continued to provide additional combat aircraft to the Afghan Air Force and plans to provide CH-47 Chinook helicopters to the Special Mission Wing to support its counterterrorism operations and replace its Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters." the report states.

The Chinook is a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for transporting troops, artillery, equipment and fuel It is also used for humanitarian and disaster relief operations and in missions such as transportation of relief supplies and mass evacuation of refugees.
https://www.airrecognition.com/inde...ch-47-chinook-helicopters-to-afghanistan.html
 

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Senator criticizes Pentagon plans to cut Black Hawks for Afghan air force
KABUL, Afghanistan — A senator on the Armed Services Committee has asked the Pentagon to explain why it has proposed yet another helicopter model for the Afghan air force instead of the Black Hawks it has been sending for years.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., questioned what he saw as an “abrupt change in aviation procurement and unclear strategic justification” in a letter sent Thursday to the Pentagon and shared with Stars and Stripes.

The Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., which makes Black Hawks, is headquartered in Connecticut.

The number of Black Hawks provided to the air force will be capped at 53 instead of the 159 pledged in 2016, to replace the country’s aging Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters, said a Defense Department report to Congress.

“Reductions were made on the basis of a review of future operational requirements,” said the Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan report released last week.

The report also said the U.S. plans to send an unknown number of Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters to an elite Afghan air unit to replace its aging Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters. Sanctions bar the U.S. from buying Russian aircraft or spares to keep them flying, though some Afghan pilots have said they favor them.

Blumenthal expressed concern about “the challenges the Afghan Air Force will face moving forward, particularly as they are required to accommodate another new aircraft.”

“Given the known, ongoing challenges with the transition from the Mi-17 helicopters to the UH-60As— including maintenance shortfalls, inefficient training for pilots and maintainers, and failure to maximize flight hours on the new UH-60As — I am concerned that this platform diversification will exacerbate these challenges, compromise the mission, and ultimately hurt our Afghan partners,” he wrote.

In addition to capping the number of Black Hawks, the U.S. reduced funding to maintain the Afghan airframes, the Pentagon said.

“How will the decision to provide fewer UH-60A Black Hawks to the Afghan Air Force impact … sustainment costs, and how do the UH-60A sustainment costs compare to those of the CH-47 Chinook?” Blumenthal wrote.

Sustainment costs primarily include contractor-provided maintenance, repairs, and procurement of parts and supplies for the seven air platforms in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

A DOD spokesman confirmed the department received Blumenthal's letter and will brief the senator's staff to address his concerns.

The Pentagon declined to comment on how many CH-47 Chinooks will be provided
to Afghanistan, or the cost of the program.

“The department continually works with its Afghan partners to reassess operational requirements over time and adjusts as appropriate,” said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman.

Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry was consulted over the U.S. plan to provide Chinooks instead of Black Hawks, spokesman Fawad Aman said.

“The [Chinook] airframe better fits our mission requirements,” he said. “It is able to carry more than three times the number of personnel or equipment.”

The service could be harmed by too many cuts, cautioned retired air force commander Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak.

“The reduction in funds and airplanes with definitely have a negative impact on the Afghan air force’s operations,” Wardak said by phone. “This will have an impact on the war, logistics, air support and attack missions, because with fewer resources you cannot have broader operations.”
https://www.stripes.com/news/senato...cut-black-hawks-for-afghan-air-force-1.617042
 

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Pentagon sheds light on plans to provide Chinook helicopters to Afghan special forces
The Defense Department plans to provide 20 Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Afghanistan’s security forces in a bid to save on support costs and air crew requirements, Pentagon officials said in a briefing that provides new details on the program.

Afghanistan would receive 10 Chinooks per year over two years to replace its elite Special Mission Wing’s aging Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters by 2023, the brief said. Current Mi-17 pilots and new trainees will become air crews on the Chinooks.

The two-page document issued Monday came in response to questions Sen. Richard Blumenthal raised in a letter last month to Defense Undersecretary John C. Rood about what he saw as an “abrupt change” to the helicopters being fielded to America’s Afghan allies.

Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was concerned about the change and what he called its “unclear strategic justification.”

The Connecticut Democrat had previously pushed DOD to provide Afghan forces with UH-60 Black Hawks, made in his state by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., after sanctions barred the U.S. from buying Russian spare parts to keep the Mi-17s flying.


The U.S. began supplying Kabul with the first of a planned 159 UH-60s in the fall of 2017, but last month said it was capping that total at 53. Plans to send Chinooks instead were revealed in a DOD report to Congress last month, though the Pentagon declined at the time to say how many.

The American-made Chinooks are expected to be 10-15% cheaper to maintain but 30% more capable than the Russian helicopters, while giving the special operations air wing “a medium-lift platform that fully meets its requirements for conducting its combat mission.”

The twin-rotor Chinook, which can carry about three times the number of troops as a Black Hawk, fulfills the special operations unit’s requirement for conducting air assaults, the Pentagon said.

None of the Chinooks are being provided to the conventional air force, officials said. Conventional units will use Black Hawks, mainly for air movement, resupply and casualty evacuation, and the Special Mission Wing will get some for “utility missions.”

The switch is also expected to trim about two-thirds of the projected $683 million annual cost of sustaining the Special Mission Wing’s Black Hawks, and reduces the number of aircraft needed to meet Afghan requirements.

That also means fewer air crews are needed than would be for either Mi-17s or UH-60s, the Pentagon said. The U.S. has struggled to train pilots and crews, but efforts are now on track to train “sufficient numbers,” DOD told Blumenthal.

In its brief to Blumenthal’s staff, the Pentagon said the changes were due to a review conducted in 2019 that found Afghan requirements could be met with fewer UH-60s.

That decision was based on improvements in the Afghan air force’s use of existing ground-attack aircraft the U.S. has provided since 2016, to include 93 MD-530 helicopters with weapons pods and 40 fixed-wing A-29 light attack planes.
https://www.stripes.com/news/pentag...helicopters-to-afghan-special-forces-1.619659
 

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Afghanistan’s Air Force Receives Five More MD-530F Helicopters
The five helicopters are part of a $1.4 billion contract for the delivery of an estimated 150 armed MD-530 rotorcraft to Afghanistan by 2022.

Arizona-based U.S. defense contractor MD Helicopters, Inc., announced the delivery of another batch of five MD-530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) on November 22. According to a press statement, the light attack helicopters were delivered to Kandahar via a Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on October 27 and reassembled for active service within ten days.

The five MD-530Fs are part of a follow-on batch of 30 helicopters ordered by the U.S. Army under a wider $1.4 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract issued in September 2017.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the 2017 contract entails the “procurement of an estimated quantity of 150 MD 530F aircraft and required production support services to include program management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance” by September 2022.

With the latest shipment, “MD Helicopters has successfully met all requirements of IDIQ [Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Contracts] Delivery Order 1, and the number of MD 530F training and combat aircraft delivered to the Afghan Air Force has reached 60,” according to a company press release.

There are currently around 50 MD-530Fs operationally deployed by the AAF in Afghanistan. Some AAF pilots have criticized the size and capabilities of the helicopters in the past.

All MD-530F helicopters currently in service with the AAF are equipped with a so-called Enhanced Mission Equipment Package (EMEP) that includes a ballistic crash worthy fuel system, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS) weapons plank and Fixed-Forward Sighting System, Rohde & Schwarz M3AR Tactical Mission Radio, and FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods, according to MD Helicopters, Inc.

The next MD-530F batch will consist of 24 helicopters, the company said on November 22.

In October, the AAF also took delivery of the last two of four retrofitted Mi-24V attack helicopters from India. New Delhi delivered the first two Mi-24Vs in May earlier this year. As I explained previously:

The Indian government had delivered a total of four Mi-25 (Mi-24D) helicopters and three HAL Cheetah light utility helicopters to the AAF by the end of 2016.

All seven Indian-supplied helicopters, in addition to five Mi-35 helicopters supplied by the Czech Republic in 2008, however, have been grounded due to missing spare parts and technical problems.

To bridge the air power capability gap, Afghanistan, Belarus, and India signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding regarding the purchase of the four Mi-24Vs in 2018, with the Indian government covering all expenses related to the procurement.
The AAF also deploys Embraer-Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft for strike missions.
 

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India Delivers 3 Cheetal Helicopters to Afghanistan
NEW DELHI: India has delivered three multi-role Cheetal helicopters along with allied equipment and spares to Afghanistan, Lok Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, in a written reply, told Lok Sabha that, "The helicopters were dispatched to Afghanistan on April 9. These helicopters have been test flown and accepted by Afghanistan pilots on April 15."

He said the three Cheetal helicopters were based on an agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Cheetals are the upgraded version of Cheetah light utility, multi-role helicopters built by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Cheetal helicopter is equipped with a Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 free turbine turboshaft engine. Compared to the 560 km of the Cheetah helicopter, Cheetal has a range of about 640 km.

Cheetal also provides a higher payload capacity of 90 kg, compared to the 50 kg of Cheetah.

The helicopters can be used for personnel transport, evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey. It is also capable of operating in the high-altitude areas.

Afghanistan has been seeking from India military equipment and lethal hardware, including tanks, artillery guns among others.

However, India has so far not supplied any lethal equipment to Afghanistan but has trained numerous of its officers in the country.
 

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Afghanistan to field Chinook heavy-lift helos
Afghanistan is to receive an undisclosed number of Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to help replace its ageing Russian-built inventory and to enhance its air mobility capabilities, the US government disclosed in late January.

In its December 2019 report to Congress, titled Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan , the US Department of Defense (DoD) noted that it is to equip the Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) with Chinook helicopters to fully replace its current Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ fleet by the end of 2023.


The SMW, which is part of the Afghan Special Security Forces, will use these helicopters to support counter-terrorism operations.


While the DoD did not disclose numbers, the SMW currently fields approximately 30 Mi-17s that are in the process of being replaced by 40 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Depending on the DoD’s plans for building up the capabilities of the wing, a force of about 10 to 15 Chinooks would provide an appropriate force mix.


Given the Chinook’s intended counter-terrorism missions, it could well be that the helicopters provided to the Afghan SMW will be the MH-47 special mission variant rather than the CH-47 transport variant.
 

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Afghan Air Force Drops Laser-Guided Bomb for 1st Time in Combat
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) used laser-guided bombs for the first time during a close air support mission in the province of Farah in southwestern Afghanistan on March 22, according to a March 27 statement by the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

A squadron of AAF Embraer/Sierra Nevada Corporation A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft dropped a GBU-58 laser-guided bomb on a Taliban compound to support Afghan Army ground operations. “The drop resulted in a direct hit along the route of a major Afghan National Army clearing operation, marking the first time the AAF dropped a laser-guided bomb in combat,” the NATO statement reads.

The AAF pilots purportedly elected to employ the GBU-58 over an unguided bomb to avoid collateral damage. It is unclear whether any civilians were hurt in the attack. The A-29 Super Tucano can carry up to two 500-pound (226 kilogram) conventional or smart freefall bombs, in addition to short-range air-to-air missiles, machine guns and rockets. The aircraft constitutes the mainstay of Afghan air power.

“The A-29 Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft specifically designed for counter-insurgency operations and can be equipped with a wide array of bombs (including precision guided munitions) and machine guns,” I explained previously. “The aircraft is fairly cheap to operate with one hour of flying time costing around $1,000.”

The U.S. Air Force has spent $427 million under its so-called Light Air Support/A-29 Afghanistan Program to supply the AAF with 20 A-29 aircraft by the end of this year. The AAF currently operates 12 aircraft with seven additional A-29 stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for pilot training. (One A-29 crashed during a test flight and still needs to be replaced.) The seven A-29s will be transferred to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

Each A-29 costs around $18 million. In October 2017, the Pentagon ordered six additional A-29s for the AAF. “Production of these six new aircraft is to start immediately in Jacksonville, Florida and brings to 26 the total number of aircraft provided to the Program,” Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer Defense & Security announced in a statement at the time.

The AAF for the first time used GBU-58/B laser guided bombs on a training range in Afghanistan in December 2017. The March 22 attack “comes just three months after the AAF completed training to employ a laser-guided bomb,” according to the March 27 NATO statement. “AAF weapons personnel and crew chiefs loaded, armed, and launched the aircraft with minimal advisor input.”

The AAF currently consists of around 8,000 members and 129 aircraft in total.
 

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Afghan Air Force Drops Laser-Guided Bomb for 1st Time in Combat
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) used laser-guided bombs for the first time during a close air support mission in the province of Farah in southwestern Afghanistan on March 22, according to a March 27 statement by the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

A squadron of AAF Embraer/Sierra Nevada Corporation A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft dropped a GBU-58 laser-guided bomb on a Taliban compound to support Afghan Army ground operations. “The drop resulted in a direct hit along the route of a major Afghan National Army clearing operation, marking the first time the AAF dropped a laser-guided bomb in combat,” the NATO statement reads.

The AAF pilots purportedly elected to employ the GBU-58 over an unguided bomb to avoid collateral damage. It is unclear whether any civilians were hurt in the attack. The A-29 Super Tucano can carry up to two 500-pound (226 kilogram) conventional or smart freefall bombs, in addition to short-range air-to-air missiles, machine guns and rockets. The aircraft constitutes the mainstay of Afghan air power.

“The A-29 Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft specifically designed for counter-insurgency operations and can be equipped with a wide array of bombs (including precision guided munitions) and machine guns,” I explained previously. “The aircraft is fairly cheap to operate with one hour of flying time costing around $1,000.”

The U.S. Air Force has spent $427 million under its so-called Light Air Support/A-29 Afghanistan Program to supply the AAF with 20 A-29 aircraft by the end of this year. The AAF currently operates 12 aircraft with seven additional A-29 stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for pilot training. (One A-29 crashed during a test flight and still needs to be replaced.) The seven A-29s will be transferred to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.

Each A-29 costs around $18 million. In October 2017, the Pentagon ordered six additional A-29s for the AAF. “Production of these six new aircraft is to start immediately in Jacksonville, Florida and brings to 26 the total number of aircraft provided to the Program,” Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer Defense & Security announced in a statement at the time.

The AAF for the first time used GBU-58/B laser guided bombs on a training range in Afghanistan in December 2017. The March 22 attack “comes just three months after the AAF completed training to employ a laser-guided bomb,” according to the March 27 NATO statement. “AAF weapons personnel and crew chiefs loaded, armed, and launched the aircraft with minimal advisor input.”

The AAF currently consists of around 8,000 members and 129 aircraft in total.
All the concerned militaries are hitting the wrong target. The problem is that they don't want to hit the two main targets that would exterminate the Taliban for good - Pakistan & Qatar. Qatar has their "headquarters" bang in the middle of their country! Like seriously! The US air force base is literally just a few Kms from there.

Taliban won't go away because no one is taking real action. They all know who and where but they don't want to do anything.

But kudos to the Afghan government for doing their bit, despite having such terrible economic and national conditions.
 

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