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Fate of the Afghan Air Force

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By Nardisoero – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47203353

Some nice reporting from Catherine Putz about the final collapse and flight of the Afghan air force:

The Uzbek city of Termez and the Afghan city of Hairatan are separated by the Amu Darya. The border is just 50 miles north of Mazar-i-Sharif. The Friendship Bridge spans the river; Soviet Forces departed Afghanistan in 1989 across it. On August 14, 2021, Afghan forces were fleeing over the bridge. Although Uzbek authorities have never confirmed it, it is believed that the infamous Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and the governor of Balkh province, Atta Muhammad Noor, fled with their forces across the bridge before Tashkent closed the border.

By the time a satellite passed over on August 16, at least 46 aircraft had appeared on the previously empty tarmac at Termez International Airport: 22 small fixed-wing aircraft and 24 helicopters.

See also this piece at Reuters from Phil Stewart on the same subject. I think that the topic “air forces fleeing a government collapse” is something that would be worthy of a special Balloons to Drones or Hush Kit examination. There are enough interesting cases to draw parallels and contrasts, and perhaps even to inform some rules of thumb about national and international obligations.

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