Afghans Show Muscle

The Afghan air force participated with Afghan army units in the largest Afghan-led combat operation in three decades, according to an Air Forces Central Command release. Operation Seemorgh, launched on July 23, was meant to clear the Azrah and Hezarek districts of Taliban insurgents, states the Aug. 8 release. Two AAF Mi-35s and six Mi-17s participated in the operation’s first wave, supporting ground forces. “This was the first completely autonomous Afghan air force troop insertion in support of a major operation,” said Army Capt. Tom Jones, team lead for the 438th Air Expeditionary Air Advisory Squadron’s Kabul Air Wing partnership. “While the AAF has conducted other troop insertions and air assaults before, they would use coalition support; this time it was done all on their own,” he said. Both Afghan airmen and coalition advisors considered the operation a success, although it was “not complete,” states the release. “The AAF has demonstrated they have the fortitude to fight for their country and their homeland, and that’s something to be proud of,” said Jones. (Jalalabad report by SSgt. Torri Ingalsbe) (See also It’s No Rag-Tag Operation.)