Afghans Retire An-26 Fleet

The Afghan air force has retired the last if its Antonov An-26 transport aircraft, taking another important step forward in its transition to a more modern and capable force with the help of US Air Force and NATO air advisors. That force will feature 20 refurbished C-27s as the primary airlifters. At the peak in 1986, the Afghans operated 36 An-26s in roles such as light transport, medical and personnel evacuation, airdrops, and VIP shuttle. “Every aircraft is important, but the An-26 has executed more missions than any other aircraft in the history of this air force,” said Brig. Gen. Assadullah Hashmi, AAF group operations commander. Afghan airmen, past and present, gathered on Dec. 24 at the AAF base in Kabul for the retirement ceremony. With the An-26s gone, the AAF is now working to phase out its An-32 transports this summer. (Kabul release)