Taliban Now Have More Air Power Than Some NATO Nations, Here’s How Many Aircraft They Could Have

Because of the collapse of the Afghan army, the Taliban now have extra plane than 10 NATO nations.

What’s worse, that quantity isn’t larger solely as a result of the USA rendered dozens of Afghan army plane at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport ineffective earlier than American troops evacuated.

Good job, everybody.

In line with a report within the Daily Mail on Wednesday, the Taliban seized a minimum of 48 plane after they took full management of the nation in August, together with a number of Black Hawk helicopters — one in every of which was flown throughout the Taliban victory parade in Kandahar on Wednesday.


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On condition that these plane require extremely skilled pilots to fly them, this additionally means the Taliban have seemingly gotten ahold of a rogue pilot or two from the previous Afghan army.

Because the Day by day Mail famous, 10 main airfields had been captured by the Taliban on their solution to seizing energy in Afghanistan, together with the bases at Bagram and Mazar-i-Sharif.

With the 48 plane they’ve, the Taliban now have a bigger air drive than 10 of our NATO allies — Slovenia (37), North Macedonia (20), Albania (19), Bosnia (19), Lithuania (10), Montenegro (10), Estonia (six), Latvia (4) and Iceland and Luxembourg (zero).

Did the U.S. make a giant mistake by leaving the Taliban so many plane?

These plane require upkeep, elements and skilled folks to fly them and preserve them flying. Nevertheless, the waste concerned is nearly as disturbing as the actual fact the Taliban now have the plane of their possession.

As of June 30, Afghanistan’s air drive was flying 167 plane — 108 helicopters and 59 planes.

Uzbekistan mentioned that 24 helicopters and 22 planes had been flown there by Afghan pilots earlier than Kabul fell.

Moreover, 73 of these plane had been “demilitarized” by U.S. forces earlier than our departure, in accordance with U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie.

“These plane won’t ever fly once more after we left,” McKenzie mentioned throughout a news convention Monday, in accordance with a Pentagon transcript.


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“They’ll by no means be capable to be operated by anybody. Most of them had been non-mission succesful to start with, however definitely they’ll by no means be capable to be flown once more,” he mentioned.

Even when they’d been “demilitarized,” the Taliban was nonetheless in a position to make use of pictures of the deserted plane for propaganda functions.

It’s additionally unclear whether or not the “demilitarized” plane might be repurposed for spare elements — and even which plane had been demilitarized within the first place.

The closest estimate appears to return from the weblog Oryx, run by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans. As auto-and-aviation-centric web site The Drive notes, the 2 “open-source researchers … have been monitoring what number of former Afghan army plane have fallen into Taliban palms for weeks now.”

Their evaluation as of Aug. 16, simply after the fall of Kabul, put the variety of captured plane barely larger than the Day by day Mail did — 51 in whole.

Relating to fixed-wing planes, the Taliban had a minimum of one A-29B gentle assault plane, one Cessna 208 utility plane, three L-39 jet trainers (inoperational for a number of years) and eight An-26/An-32 transport plane (additionally inoperational for a number of years), in accordance with Oryx.

As for helicopters, they’d 4 UH-60 Black Hawks, 10 MD-530F assault helicopters, 11 Mi-8/Mi-17 transport helicopters and 13 Mi-24/Mi-35 assault helicopters (most inoperational for a number of years.)

Additionally they had taken management of seven Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drones.

Mitzer and Oliemans mentioned their “listing solely consists of captured Afghan plane of which photographic or videographic proof is out there. Subsequently, the quantity of plane captured is undoubtedly larger than what’s listed right here.”

It’s additionally price noting that, of the plane the U.S. demilitarized at Kabul, in accordance with Oryx, many had been of the identical sorts because the plane they’d already captured — together with 12 Black Hawks, 12 A-29Bs and 9 MD-530s. Can they be used for spares if vital? Once more — we don’t know. Even when they will’t be, it’s an amazing waste.

There are causes to hope the Taliban’s air drive gained’t be a long-term risk to anybody. Because the Day by day Mail famous, “these plane — a lot of them courting again to the Eighties — will want knowledgeable mechanical care and new elements to maintain them airborne.”

“And even then, the Taliban might want to present funds to arm the plane, with the price of bullets apart, the value of precision-guided missiles turns into exorbitant — significantly for a ragtag authorities with out the means to feed its ravenous populace,” it mentioned.

Nevertheless, a part of the $83 billion we spent arming and coaching the Afghan army went towards offering and sustaining these plane — plane meant to defeat the insurgents who now make up that “ragtag authorities” and have these planes and helicopters.

Our time in Afghanistan wanted to finish. It didn’t want to finish in waste and humiliation — and with this type of present to the Taliban on prime of it.

Our NATO allies needs to be so fortunate.

C. Douglas Golden is a author who splits his time between the USA and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he is written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a author who splits his time between the USA and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he is written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Apart from politics, he enjoys spending time along with his spouse, literature (particularly British comedian novels and trendy Japanese lit), indie rock, espresso, Components One and soccer (of each American and world varieties).


Morristown, New Jersey


Catholic College of America

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American Politics, World Politics, Tradition | Taliban Now Have Extra Air Energy Than Some NATO Nations, Here is How Many Plane They Might Have

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