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Boats 08-14-2021 05:55 AM

The Taliban Captured Helicopters. Can They Capture an Air Force?
The Taliban Captured Helicopters. Can They Capture an Air Force?
By: Marcus Weisgerber & Tara Copp - Defense One News - 08-13-21

These are the lethal warplanes that could fall under Taliban control.

The Afghan National Security Forces has a long record of losing track of U.S.-supplied guns and rifles. But as the Taliban gains territory following the U.S. troop withdrawal, Afghanistan could lose far more lethal weapons: combat aircraft.

The Pentagon says that has not happened yet, and that the Afghan Air Force continues to fly missions and carry out airstrikes against the Taliban every day. But Taliban fighters reportedly have captured armored vehicles, small surveillance drones, and several unflyable helicopters. Could they capture more?

“We are always worried about U.S. equipment that could fall into an adversaries’ hands,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Friday. “What actions we might take to prevent that or to forestall it, I just simply won't speculate about today.”

As of June 30, the Afghan Air Force had just over 200 aircraft, but only 167 were available for missions, according to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Most of the planes operate from two bases, one in Kabul and the other in Kandahar. The Taliban took control of Kandahar earlier today, including the airfield.

Many of the aircraft and helicopters are armed, but the most lethal are a small fleet of just over two dozen propeller-driven attack planes. These A-29 Super Tucanos were supplied to Afghan forces specifically so they can provide close-air support to their ground fighters. They can fire laser-guided and other types of bombs.


Personal note: It's a lost cause!

Boats 08-14-2021 07:12 AM

Pentagon Sending Enough Airpower to Evacuate ‘Thousands’ from Afghanistan Per Day
Pentagon Sending Enough Airpower to Evacuate ‘Thousands’ from Afghanistan Per Day
US ‘deeply concerned’ by collapsing Afghan forces; urges Afghans to fight as Taliban push toward Kabul.
By: Tara Coop - Snr. Pentagon Reporter for Defense One - 08-13-21

U.S. Air Force cargo planes and contracted aircraft are headed to Afghanistan to evacuate potentially thousands of Americans and Afghans per day as the Taliban advances on Kabul, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

On Thursday the Taliban took Afghanistan’s second largest city, Kandahar, and advances by Taliban fighters have put the country’s capital at risk of falling.

“Our intention is to be able to move thousands per day,” Kirby said.

“Time is a precious commodity here,” Kirby said. “Clearly from their actions it appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated.”

The need for the rapid departure raised repeat questions on how the Afghan army could have collapsed so quickly.

“We have noted with great concern the speed with which they [the Taliban] have been moving and the lack of resistance they have faced” from U.S.-trained Afghan military units, and it was time for those units to fight back, Kirby said.

The United States has spent almost $83 billion equipping and training the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces, or ANDSF, since 2002, including providing almost $10 billion in aircraft and vehicles, according to the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

“They have an air force, which, oh, by the way, is flying more air strikes than we are everyday. They have modern equipment. They have organizational structure,” Kirby said. “They have the benefit of training that we have provided them over 20 years. They have the material, the physical, the tangible advantages. It’s time now to use those advantages.”

Some security experts say the United States should have seen this collapse coming. U.S. forces trained the Afghan army after its own image, with a centralized, national hierarchy and western style of fighting, even when it became clear that large U.S. Army operations in Afghanistan would have to adjust and adapt to insurgent attacks and asymmetric warfare.

“We thought things like Humvees and tanks and artillery pieces and helicopters made it strong,” said Bill Roggio, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has opposed Biden’s Afghanistan plan.

All that gear and national focus, instead of strengthening highly-localized units defending their own homes, did not inspire a will to fight, he said.

Systemic corruption and a weak Afghan government that failed to ensure Afghan forces were paid, or received proper care and compensation after getting wounded, made it worse.

“Are you going to expect people from the North to go fight and die in Helmand? Or Kandahar?” Roggio said.

Afghanistan’s commando forces were an exception to this, Roggio said.

Marine Corps veteran Dan Grazier, a fellow at the Project on Government Oversight, said when U.S. training of Afghan forces first began, there was no overall plan on how to build a successful Afghan Army that could sustain itself. That left the shaping to individual U.S. military units that frequently rotated out, losing progress or continuity of training.

“Because we didn't have resident experts at the beginning, the Army and Marine Corps essentially defaulted to what they knew and tried to craft the Afghan Army in their own image,” Grazier said. “We trained them to capabilities and provided them with a bunch of equipment they couldn't sustain on their own.”

Biden officials earlier this year had promised to continue equipping Afghan forces with cash and weapons as U.S. troops withdrew, but the Taliban’s advance—and the number of Afghan units flipping sides—has observers like Roggio asking whether U.S. logistical and equipment support should continue?

“It’s hard to recommend you pour any more war material into Afghanistan if Afghans are not going to use it to fight,” Roggio said.

In July, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found the Defense Department has spent $3.74 billion on fuel for Afghan forces from fiscal year 2010 to 2020 and “plans to spend an additional $1.45 billion through FY 2025.”

“This fuel was required to operate more than $9.82 billion in vehicles and aircraft DOD procured for the ANDSF, and to provide power to ANDSF bases and installations.”

The Pentagon was also working on plans to provide future contracted maintenance support for the Afghan Air Force that would have been conducted remotely. On Friday, Kirby said that DOD is still planning to provide Afghan forces that resupply and maintenance support.

“We are focused on the security situation as we see it now,” Kirby said.

Congress has already put one block in place, with a stipulation in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that would cut off that aid if Kabul falls. The bill directs that “none of the funds provided may be ‘available for the transfer of funds, supplies, or other items of monetary value to the Taliban or members of other terrorist groups.’”

The rapid collapse of the Afghan army across Afghanistan also increased concerns that the thousands of interpreters and others who aided Americans and are waiting for visas to exit Afghanistan could be left behind.

The United States is speeding additional aircraft and personnel to Kabul’s airport to keep the runways open to allow U.S. airlift to get people out safely.

Kim Motley, an attorney who has worked in Afghanistan since 2008, has been assisting Afghans with the special immigrant visa process. She said she’s been hearing from worried Afghans who do not understand why their visas have not been processed.

“I do think the sentiment is that the U.S. is abandoning them,” Motley said. “This is a human rights nuclear bomb and the international community lit the match.”

Boats 08-14-2021 12:57 PM

Why the US-trained Afghan National Army have been defeated with ease by the Taliban
3rd Report: Why the US-trained Afghan National Army have been defeated with ease by the Taliban
By: Alia Shoaib - Insider Military & Defense - 08-14-21

Note: This report sorta tells it as it is:

* The Taliban now control two-thirds of Afghanistan, including half of its provincial capitals.

* Experts say that Afghan forces have adequate training and equipment, but often lack the will to fight.

* Demoralized Afghan soldiers often abandon posts to defend their families rather than the government.

Since US-led forces began their withdrawal from Afghanistan, The Taliban have gained ground at an astonishing pace.

The insurgents have seized half of the country's 34 provincial capitals, including it's second and third-largest cities, and now control two-thirds of the entire country.

U.S. officials previously said they didn't expect any provincial capital to be seized until fall at the earliest, according to The Wall Street Journal. Now, reports suggest that Kabul could fall within a matter of days or weeks.

The Afghan forces should have the upper hand in numbers, funding and arms. So how have the Taliban gained ground so quickly in Afghanistan?

Since its invasion in 2001, the US has invested almost $83 billion on training and arming Afghanistan's defense forces, according to Foreign Policy.

"We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools – let me emphasize: all the tools," US President Joe Biden said while defending the decision to withdraw American forces.

Experts told the magazine that the problem lies not in the training or equipment provided to Afghanistan, but in local mismanagement, corruption, and demoralized soldiers who often lack the will to fight.

Sources said that Afghan police have not been paid for months by the Ministry of Interior and that the same is true for the Ministry of Defense, Foreign Policy reported.

They added that Afghan forces are often not supplied with adequate arms, or even food or water.

Photo link:
An Afghan National Army soldier stands watch at Bagram after the departure of US forces Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Many soldiers and police are also posted to areas far from their homes, to which they have no connection, and some choose to abandon their posts and return home to defend their families, the magazine said.

There is also a widespread lack of faith in the government, with officials across the country stating they will not fight to defend President Ashraf Ghani's government.

"The issue of legitimacy is very important," said Enayat Najafizada, founder of Kabul-based think tank the Institute of War and Peace Studies, told Foreign Policy.

He said the 2020 presidential election that returned Ghani for a second term was seen as corrupt, which has been capitalized on by the Taliban.

That fact combined with corrupt officials pilfering funds has led to widespread distrust of the government.

Residents in Herat and Kandahar told Al Jazeera that they were shocked at how quickly their cities fell and said government forces did not put up a fight.

While official records state that the Afghan security forces number over 300,000, the BBC reported that the true number is likely to be lower.

Afghan forces have a difficult history of high casualties and desertions, according to the outlet, and corrupt officials often claim salaries of non-existent troops, called "ghost soldiers."

Comparatively, the US Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, estimates that the Taliban have 60,000 core fighters, with additional militia groups and supporters that could swell that number to 200,000.

Afghan forces are overstretched, and reports say the Taliban have been shooting down air force planes and assassinating pilots, who often have years of training and are difficult to replace.

Although lower in numbers, the Taliban has gained momentum after a series of successes.

The Taliban have also been seizing weapon caches from Afghan forces, which are often Western supplied.

Although US forces left with their "sophisticated" equipment, the Taliban offensive has allowed the group to seize "vehicles, Humvees, small arms, and light weapons, as well as ammunition", Justine Fleischner of weapons-tracking group Conflict Armament Research, told AFP.

On Saturday, Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani finally acknowledged the Taliban's gains in a televised address.

"Remobilizing the security and defense force is our top priority and required measures are underway for this purpose," Ghani said. "My focus is to prevent further instability, violence, and displacement of my people."

On Friday staff at the US embassy in Kabul were told Friday to destroy sensitive material in case the Taliban seized the capital, as Insider reported.

The United States also announced it would send 3,000 troops to evacuate personnel from its embassy in Kabul, and the United Kingdom has sent 600 troops.

Personal note:
The Afghanistan's will is lost without US backing. We say they were trained - but its seems their will-power was on the back of the US - and as long as the US was there - their families were safe. You had 20 years to get your act together - to save your country - and your Families.
Having other's fight for your country can only be sustained for so long - and then you have to stand & fight on your own. After 20 years it seems you didn't learn a thing. Your comments today you stated you were worried about your Families. If your not ready to fight for them - then you've lost both your Family and your Country. You've got nobody to blame other then yourselves. You have my regrets and sympathies - but your Love of Country was lacking - and you became incoherent to the fact that the US would have to leave evidentially.
If your Country is not worth dying for - why live there! Oppression will be your new master now - and the hard lessons if & when your country falls. You sacrificed your Families when you surrender your lands. Many families bear the cost of aggression & mistreatment in every war. Your country will be no different - than many other countries in the world. You want to prevent this - you must stand true to your promise to protect them - even if it cost you your life. At least go down with honor - rather then as a refugee and/or as a misplaced tortured human being in a prison camp.
NOTE: As American's we have a saying: We have but one life to give for our Country - and this also applies to Our Families. This credo should be burned into every Afghan's ; Heart & Soul's - in order save them both!

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