Dozens Of U.S.-Bought Afghan Air Force Aircraft Are Now Orphaned At An Uzbek Airfield

Gary

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Afghan pilots fled the country in the face of the advancing Taliban over the weekend. Now the fate of the aircraft is up in the air.​

escaped-afghan-air-force-termez.jpg


As the chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul was beginning to unfold after the Taliban entered the city on Sunday, an entirely different kind of exodus was underway from the country's northern regions. Satellite imagery confirms that dozens of fixed-wing aircraft, such as A-29 Super Tucano light attack planes, and helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawks, from the now-defunct Afghan armed forces, originally supplied by the United States, are sitting at Termez Airport in neighboring Uzbekistan.

An image, taken yesterday, Aug. 16, 2021, of Termez from Planet Labs shows the sudden appearance of at least 22 small fixed-wing planes and 26 helicopters. The resolution of the imagery means we can't say for sure that all of these aircraft came fled from Afghanistan. However, what we can see fits almost perfectly with an official statement from the government of Uzbekistan that 46 aircraft, 22 fixed-wing types and 24 helicopters, coming out of Afghanistan had been "forced" to land.

message-editor%2F1629242959182-termez-main-ramps-aug-16.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
A satellite image of Termez Airport in Uzbekistan, full of former Afghan military aircraft, on Aug. 16, 2021.

message-editor%2F1629243130146-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-main.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
A close-up of the bulk of the former Afghan military aircraft, including various fixed-wing types and helicopters, spotted at Termez.
message-editor%2F1629243164578-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-north-ramp.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
What appears to be more former Afghan Air Force helicopters on a ramp at Termez Airport.
message-editor%2F1629243262185-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-west.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
Additional helicopters on and off the tarmac at Termez.
message-editor%2F1629243498131-termez-airport-normal.jpg

GOOGLE EARTH
A much more typical satellite image of the main portions of Termez Airport from April 2020, showing it largely devoid of any aircraft.

Authorities in Uzbekistan said that this total did also include one A-29 that came down inside Uzbekistan. Initial reports had indicated that it had been shot down, though it was later said to have collided with an Uzbekistan Air Force fighter jet, reportedly one of the country's Russian-made MiG-29 Fulcrums, leading to the loss of both planes. Exactly what happened is now in dispute, but pictures did emerge on social media showing the downed Super Tucano and its pilots, who were able to eject safely.

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Saithan

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Afghan pilots fled the country in the face of the advancing Taliban over the weekend. Now the fate of the aircraft is up in the air.​

escaped-afghan-air-force-termez.jpg


As the chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul was beginning to unfold after the Taliban entered the city on Sunday, an entirely different kind of exodus was underway from the country's northern regions. Satellite imagery confirms that dozens of fixed-wing aircraft, such as A-29 Super Tucano light attack planes, and helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawks, from the now-defunct Afghan armed forces, originally supplied by the United States, are sitting at Termez Airport in neighboring Uzbekistan.

An image, taken yesterday, Aug. 16, 2021, of Termez from Planet Labs shows the sudden appearance of at least 22 small fixed-wing planes and 26 helicopters. The resolution of the imagery means we can't say for sure that all of these aircraft came fled from Afghanistan. However, what we can see fits almost perfectly with an official statement from the government of Uzbekistan that 46 aircraft, 22 fixed-wing types and 24 helicopters, coming out of Afghanistan had been "forced" to land.

message-editor%2F1629242959182-termez-main-ramps-aug-16.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
A satellite image of Termez Airport in Uzbekistan, full of former Afghan military aircraft, on Aug. 16, 2021.

message-editor%2F1629243130146-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-main.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
A close-up of the bulk of the former Afghan military aircraft, including various fixed-wing types and helicopters, spotted at Termez.
message-editor%2F1629243164578-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-north-ramp.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
What appears to be more former Afghan Air Force helicopters on a ramp at Termez Airport.
message-editor%2F1629243262185-escaped-afghan-air-force-termez-west.jpg

PHOTO © 2021 PLANET LABS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION
Additional helicopters on and off the tarmac at Termez.
message-editor%2F1629243498131-termez-airport-normal.jpg

GOOGLE EARTH
A much more typical satellite image of the main portions of Termez Airport from April 2020, showing it largely devoid of any aircraft.

Authorities in Uzbekistan said that this total did also include one A-29 that came down inside Uzbekistan. Initial reports had indicated that it had been shot down, though it was later said to have collided with an Uzbekistan Air Force fighter jet, reportedly one of the country's Russian-made MiG-29 Fulcrums, leading to the loss of both planes. Exactly what happened is now in dispute, but pictures did emerge on social media showing the downed Super Tucano and its pilots, who were able to eject safely.

continue in the link...


Well it's a problem Taliban will have to own up to and solve either with money or give up on reclaiming those planes. Flying military grade units across border (esp. if armed) is quite an issue.

But I'm glad they're in Uzbekistan at least :).
 
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