|Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano Ground Attack Aircraft|
By Sayed Sharif Amiri
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, the Commander of US Air Forces Central Command, on Monday said the Afghan Air Force (AAF) will play an increasingly important role in future missions.
Recently the Pentagon signed a contract worth $1 billion USD to purchase 150 C-130 aircraft for the Afghan army, a move which was warmly welcomed by the Afghan ministry of defense.
The AAF is considered one of the key pillars of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and it is expected that within the next four years, there will be a significant change in the structure of the air force.
Although the US has provided $4 billion USD in assistance to the Afghan air force, the AAF still needs more time and help to stand on its own.
“We increased our number of F-16s in Bagram from 12 to 18. So that's a first step as we do our initial analysis, but we're gonna take a longer term look at this. Importantly though, I think the other piece I'd highlight to you, is that the Afghan Air Force is gonna play a particularly important role here, and that air force is gonna triple its size over the next several years, and I'd highlight that what the Afghans have done with their A-29 and their ability to quickly get themselves into the fight and support their teams on the ground has also been an important part that we're gonna leverage going forward as part of this plan,” said Harrigian.
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