Taliban Jihadi Organization 'Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan' Set To Have Air Force, Conducts First Maneuvers In Balkh Province

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December 10, 2021

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Since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) took over the country in August, media reports have indicated that they have taken control of military hardware left by the U.S. and other NATO member states. Now the jihadi group is set to run the Afghan air force.


Photo from a Taliban air force maneuver in Balkh province on November 29

There have been concerns that Pakistan, a major patron of the Islamic Emirate, and China, which has trained Taliban fighters in Xinjiang province, would seek to obtain the military hardware left behind by the United States in Afghanistan.

In November 2021, social media reports emerged that military hardware was being transported from Afghanistan to Pakistan. There is unease among Afghans about Afghan military equipment going to Pakistan. "The smuggling of military tanks and weapons should be stopped. The equipment belongs to the people," said Shukor Shah, a Kabul resident.[1]

However, Saeed Khosti, spokesman of the Taliban-led interior ministry of Afghanistan, dismissed these reports, saying: "We completely reject the smuggling of military equipment into Pakistan. No one will be allowed to do it."[2]


Photo from a Taliban air force maneuver in Balkh province on November 29

On August 15, the day Kabul fell, some Afghan pilots and maintenance workers, fearing for their lives, flew their planes out of Afghanistan into neighboring countries. Ataullah Omari – the commander of Al-Fatah Corps in Balkh province, a jihadi specialist force under the Islamic Emirate – said on December 4: "Those aircraft transferred abroad have been returned to the country. As a result of continued efforts, some of the aircraft were brought back to Afghanistan."[3]

Addressing a meeting of Kabul airport personnel on December 3, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the Taliban's acting defense minister and son of late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, announced that the Islamic Emirate will establish an air force. "We will establish an air force that will not need the support of the U.S., India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan," Yaqoob said.[4]


Photo from a Taliban air force maneuver in Balkh province on November 29

For the first time since the Taliban took power, the Taliban-led Afghan air force conducted a military maneuver in the northern province of Balkh on November 29, according to an Afghan media report.[5]

Amanuddin Mansoor, a commander of the air force, said: "In the near future we will collect information from all the airports to see how many active and damaged choppers we have, and also how many pilots we have who are willing to work and how many are not. We request that those who have left the country return and serve their people."[6]

In the maneuvers in Balkh province, the Islamic Emirate's pilots used MI-17 and MD helicopters that the U.S. had provided to the air force of the previous Afghan government, a media report said, noting that a number of the former government's air force staff, especially technical personnel, are now working for the air force under the Islamic Emirate in Balkh province.[7] Mohammad Ikram Stanikzai, an air force officer, said: "Our engineers resolve technical problems and are working here to serve the country."[8]


Photo from a Taliban air force maneuver in Balkh province on November 29

 

[1] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 27, 2021.

[2] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 27, 2021.

[3] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), December 4, 2021.

[4] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 27, 2021.

[5] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 29, 2021.

[6] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 29, 2021.

[7] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 29, 2021.

[8] ToloNews.com (Afghanistan), November 29, 2021

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