May 26, 2022

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Watchdog warned of Afghan air forces collapse months just before US pullout

The Pentagon was warned in January past yr that Afghanistan’s $8.5 billion air power would slide aside devoid of more American guidance, according to a newly declassified report.

The doc, submitted in early 2021 by Unique Inspector Normal for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko, was designed general public Tuesday — five months immediately after the Taliban reconquered Afghanistan subsequent 20 a long time of war from US-led NATO forces.

“Without ongoing support and crystal clear emphasis on the progress of all ranges and positions of Afghanistan’s air forces, the methods, capacity, and sustainment of the [Afghan Air Force] and [Special Mission Wing] may be at hazard,” read through the report, which noted that the Western-backed Afghan govt would closely rely on its recently minted air forces to perform overcome missions against insurgents embedded in distant places of the country.

According to the report, the two the Afghans and their US minders unsuccessful to prioritize teaching personnel to male important aid positions.
HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP by means of Getty Photographs

“Despite this worth to the protection and protection of Afghanistan, neither the AAF nor the SMW have been capable to fulfill their licensed conclusion strengths, and both of those forces deficiency a approach to get over these difficulties and answer to growing mission needs,” the report warned. 

In accordance to SIGAR, neither of the Afghan air forces managed to create recruiting methods or procedures, although each the Afghans and their US minders failed to prioritize teaching personnel to guy vital guidance positions.

The report also famous that the Section of Defense “does not make certain qualified and educated pilots and maintainers are in positions that employ their highly developed teaching, possibly major to the payment of incorrectly positioned or unqualified staff.”

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers arrive at the gate of the Afghan air force compound in Kabul April 27, 2011.
Afghan National Military (ANA) troopers get there at the gate of the Afghan air drive compound in Kabul on April 27, 2011.
REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The report observed that Washington had expended far more than $8.5 billion to “support and develop” the AAF and the SMW since 2010. It concluded by recommending that the US and the Afghan government “[f]inalize a mitigation prepare to assure the continuation of vital servicing, operation, and advisory support to the AAF and SMW really should the U.S. and Taliban settlement demand the withdrawal of contractors from Afghanistan.”

It is uncommon for SIGAR reports to be labeled, while a declassified edition is usually launched by the Pentagon within just two months when they are, the inspector general’s workplace informed the Linked Press. 

It is unclear why this report took far more than a calendar year to be produced. 

Damaged military aircraft is seen after Taliban's takeover inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on September 5, 2021.
A weakened armed service aircraft is noticed following the Taliban’s takeover inside the Hamid Karzai Intercontinental Airport in Kabul on September 5, 2021.
AP Picture/Mohammad Asif Khan

Army Maj. Rob Lodewick, a Protection Section spokesman, explained to The Put up that the Pentagon “has prolonged acknowledged (a) the significant job the AAF had in the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] & its efforts/ability to safe Afghanistan, (b) the need & value of continued funding and maintenance, logistics & training guidance, and (c) the difficulties faced with continuing these assistance amidst a withdrawal of on-ground forces.

“The specific issues introduced by SIGAR had been perfectly known to DoD at the time of the report’s initial release and were being actively being addressed all the way up to the tumble of Kabul,” Lodewick included.

The US done its chaotic troop withdrawal and initial initiatives to evacuate Americans and their Afghan allies from the war-torn nation at the conclude of August.

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers
In accordance to the report, the Pentagon was warned in January final year that Afghanistan’s $8.5 billion air force would tumble aside with no supplemental American aid.
MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES Times/POLARIS

The Biden administration was closely criticized for the pullout as Afghan forces collapsed in the face of the Taliban, leaving 1000’s at the mercy of Islamist rule. 

Even though prime US navy officials claimed no 1 could have predicted how immediately the Afghan governing administration would fall, several reports later on emerged detailing that quite a few intelligence officials and American diplomats had warned of a speedy collapse of the Kabul governing administration. 

Afghan officials had also warned that the country’s air pressure would not be able to sustain itself following a US withdrawal — with Ata Mohammed Noor, a northern Afghanistan warlord, professing the fleet of planes was overused and below-managed. 

“Most of the planes are again on the floor,” he mentioned at the time. “They can’t fly and most of them are out of ammunition.”

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Spoke
Exclusive Inspector Standard for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko unveiled the categorised document five months following the Taliban seized management of Afghanistan.
AP Image/Charles Dharapak, File

The January 2021 SIGAR report pointed out the Division of Protection claimed that the Afghan air forces have been displaying development in their overcome operation abilities, pilot and ground crew proficiency and air-to-ground integration.

“However,” it extra, “the air forces carry on to battle with human capital restrictions, leadership worries, aircraft misuse, and a dependence on contractor logistic help.” 

With Publish wires