The United States has stated that after completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan, it will “over the horizon” to provide air support to the Afghan armed forces. However, it is not entirely clear how you can do this for the large number of potential restrictions that may arise soon.
In mid-July, the United States launched several air strikes to support the Afghan government forces to fight the Taliban. According to reports, these attacks demonstrate the clear intention of the United States to provide air support, at least until it completes its withdrawal from the country by August 31.
After that date, it is unclear how Washington will choose to continue providing such air support.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin stated in a press conference on Wednesday that after August 31, US airstrikes will only target Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the country, not the Taliban. It is unclear whether this policy will change if the Taliban are about to occupy the capital, Kabul, where the United States has held approximately 650 soldiers to ensure the security of its embassy in Kabul.
At the same press conference, General Mark Milli, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that “the Taliban’s complete takeover of power” is a possible situation because the organization has already occupied approximately half of Afghanistan. Although he also said that he did not Believe that “the ending is still being written.”
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U.S. Air Force F15E Strike Eagles dropped a 2,000-pound bomb in a cave in eastern Afghanistan… [+] U.S. Air Force photo
The United States does not allow the use of any military bases in six countries in Afghanistan. This means its The plane must take off from a base or aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
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“Range will effectively eliminate any ability of the United States to provide close air support to ground Afghan forces,” RANE Roger Baker, Stratfor senior vice president of strategic analysis, told me. “However, assuming that the United States obtains overflight permission from Pakistan, such air assets can still be used to target static locations (training grounds, weapons depots), or for pre-planned offensive operations.”
Because neighboring Pakistan does not allow the United States to be in its territory Deploying aircraft to fight over Afghanistan, Washington has held talks with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Baker said that Russia allegedly supports the US military’s operations from Central Asia, provided that its mission has obvious restrictions.
Islamabad’s refusal by the United States to use its territory as a base of operations could weaken Washington’s ability to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan could have been a better base of operations for U.S. drones flying south of the mountains of Afghanistan, but potential operations from Central Asia could provide similar intelligence and surveillance support,” Baker said.
The final location of the US base of operations in the region and the overflight permit of the countries of the region will have a major impact on the US air strike decision following the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.
“Without a base of operations in Pakistan, the threshold for active US military intervention may be higher, even through the use of armed drones,” Baker said. “Any operation in support of the Afghan army may require specific requests from the Afghan government and may need to coincide with the overflights of neighboring countries or operational agreements.”
“However, if the United States detects a threat to the United States by direct non-state actors, the United States shows its commitment to carry out unilateral actions,” he added.
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TOPSHOT An Air Force Mi17 helicopter Afghanistan is in … [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
The Afghan Air Force has a small-scale air force, which the United States helped establish over the years. However, maintenance issues and other deficiencies can seriously inhibit the air weapon’s ability to help resist Taliban attacks and support Afghan soldiers on the battlefield. The Afghan Air Force
lacks fighter jets (instead, it uses the Cessna AC208 caravan and the Brazilian-made A29 super toucan light attack aircraft) and relies heavily on helicopters. According to the New York Times, 4,444 American contractors provided astonishing 100% maintenance for Afghanistan’s UH60 Black Hawk helicopter and C130 Hercules transport aircraft fleet.
Afghanistan has long liked the Russian-made Mi17 `Hip` utility helicopters because it found them easier to fly and maintain because it has used this Russian hardware for decades.
The United States once purchased Mi17s for the Afghan Air Force. Almost ten years ago, when Congress banned the use of federal funds to buy military equipment from Russia, everything changed. The United States did not seek second-hand Mi17s from the countries of the former Soviet Union, some of which are even members of NATO, but began supplying UH60s to Afghanistan, in the hope that they could replace the Mi17s in Afghanistan.
However, according to a US official quoted by The New York Times, the Afghan Air Force may not even be able to operate its Black Hawk until the mid-2030s without the help of contractors. Given that most contractors have already left the country, Afghanistan will undoubtedly work hard to keep its Black Hawks operational for months to come. Remote technical support provided by Zoom may not be sufficient to replace contractors on the ground.
“Although the Afghan Air Force has been developed and trained in the past few years, the number of well-trained pilots is still limited and there is a serious lack of experienced maintenance personnel,” Baker said.
“The switch from Russian buttocks to the American Black Hawk is a special challenge for Afghan maintenance personnel.”
He added that some people suggested that India could seize this emerging opportunity by providing spare parts and maintenance services for the elderly in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a firm foothold.

By Peter

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