US Delivers 4 Embraer a‑29s to Afghanistan

 In Afghanistan, Defense, Air, Forces & Capabilities, FVEY

US Delivers Four Aircraft to the Afghan Air Force, as Part of NATO Continued Support to the Afghan Security Forces

Two of the four Embraer A‑29 Super Tucano light tur­bo­prop attack air­craft during the deliv­ery cer­e­mo­ny in Kabul. Afghanistan has now received 18, with anoth­er six to follow in February 2021. (NATO photo)

Today (17 September 2020), the United States, as a con­tribut­ing nation to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, trans­ferred four A‑29 Super Tocano air­craft to the Afghan Air Force, during a cer­e­mo­ny in Kabul.

A29 Ceremony in Afghanistan

“As we receive these planes, they are a mes­sage that NATO is com­mit­ted to the Afghan Forces,” said acting Minister of Defense Asadullah Khalid. “During these impor­tant times this a good exam­ple of their con­tin­ued coop­er­a­tion, and shows this will con­tin­ue until the defeat of ter­ror­ism in the coun­try and the region.”

The A‑29 is the Afghan Air Force’s fastest and most pow­er­ful aerial inter­dic­tion and close-air-attack air­craft. The U.S. has now pro­vid­ed 18 A‑29s to the Afghan Air Force since 2016, and plans to trans­fer an addi­tion­al six in February 2021.

“I con­grat­u­late you all on receiv­ing these new air­planes,” Minister Khalid told a large assem­bly of pilots and secu­ri­ty offi­cials. “I hope they will fly day and night if nec­es­sary in order to defend our coun­try.”

Since 2007, NATO has worked to rebuild and mod­ern­ize the Afghan Air Force, first with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and then under the Resolute Support Mission, which began in 2015. U.S. and Coalition advi­sors pro­vide train­ing, advice and assis­tance to the Afghan Air Force from the min­is­te­r­i­al level down to the wing, group, and squadron levels.

“NATO’s objec­tive in Afghanistan has always been to deny safe havens for inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism,” said Lt. Gen. John Deedrick, com­man­der of NATO’s Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. “The best way to do this is to gen­er­ate com­pe­tent, trained and pro­fes­sion­al Afghan secu­ri­ty forces which can main­tain secu­ri­ty inde­pen­dent­ly. As we work toward peace, the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission con­tin­ues to work close­ly with all branch­es of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.”

Since 2015, Resolute Support’s mod­erni­sa­tion efforts have helped to trans­form the Afghan Air Force into some of Afghanistan’s most capa­ble secu­ri­ty forces. As a result of NATO-led train, advise, assist efforts, the Afghan Air Force now inde­pen­dent­ly plans and exe­cutes logis­tics, resup­ply, human­i­tar­i­an relief, casu­al­ty evac­u­a­tion, and combat sup­port mis­sions.

“The edu­ca­tion, train­ing and expe­ri­ence which our Afghan Air Force, our Afghan Army and our Special Forces have gained in the past few years is unique in the region,” said Minister Khalid. “The sense of ded­i­ca­tion and morale, which is more impor­tant than any­thing, is strong in the sol­diers and young people of this coun­try, and we’re always wit­ness to that.”

The defense min­is­ter noted advances in the secu­ri­ty forces are only one part of the gains the coun­try has made over the last 19 years through coop­er­a­tion with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty. “In the past two decades, we have seen the recon­struc­tion of the coun­try, the edu­ca­tion of the youth, the inde­pen­dence of Afghanistan, and other achieve­ments such as the free media that today we are wit­ness­ing here with sev­er­al cam­eras present,” Minister Khalid said. He includ­ed the increas­ing role of women in those accom­plish­ments. “In the past two decades, Afghan women have flown in the sky, become pilots, doc­tors, teach­ers, min­is­ters and deputy min­is­ters, and they will never go back to those days of the past.”

NATO remains com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the Afghan forces with advi­sors and fund­ing, as they work to ensure last­ing peace and long-term secu­ri­ty for the ben­e­fit of all Afghans.

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Defense Aerospace source|articles

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