Friday, October 31, 2014

Off They Go

The Taliban have had the advantage of being able to mass their forces against Afghan targets as we draw down our troop presence, including our air power. We hope to reverse this trend:

The U.S. has agreed to provide Afghanistan with 62 more armed helicopters and twenty ground attack aircraft, including training for Afghan pilots and maintainers, by 2017. The helicopters are the MD-530F, which is the civilian version of the U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) MH-6. ...

The ground attack aircraft is the A-29 Super Tucano. This is a single engine turbo-prop trainer/attack aircraft that is used by over a dozen nations. This aircraft carries two internal 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine-guns along with 1.5 tons of bombs and rockets under the wings. It can stay in the air for 6.5 hours at a time.

Hopefully, we provide the cash for contractors to provide maintenance and air crews, if necessary. These are simple aircraft compared to high performance craft, but it still could be beyond the ability of the Afghans to keep in the fight.

I noted our receipt of these planes a month ago.

As we ramp up air support in Iraq because our absence allowed the enemy to regroup and advance, I hope our leadership can learn the lesson that letting Afghanistan deteriorate by leaving too soon could lead to defeat there.