- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
- Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race
- Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt
- Bomb, shooting in Egypt kills 2 police officers
- Tenn. woman receives two-year sentence for stealing $364K meant for homeless veterans
- School bus driver gets probation after kicking autistic girl, 8
In the air today: Afghan air force developing its capabilities
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — In southwestern Afghanistan, this reporter for The Washington Times recently hitched a ride on a helicopter manned by Afghans, including the pilot and two door gunners, as well as U.S. military personnel.
The 20-minute flight was aboard an Mi-17, a Russian-made aircraft that Afghans have learned to fly.
The U.S.-led coalition is helping Afghanistan recruit, train and deploy an air force, which is not expected to be fully capable until after 2017.
Currently, the Afghan air force can conduct resupply missions to remote bases around the country, in addition to providing casualty evacuation flights. A small percentage of Afghan fliers can conduct independent air assaults. The force numbers about 6,000.
"Building an air force from the ground up is no easy task," said Air Force Maj. Gen. H.D. "Jake" Polumbo Jr., director of the coalition's Air Component Coordination Element and commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan.
"But the early signs are, indeed, encouraging," Gen. Polumbo told Pentagon reporters during an April 23 briefing.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- IRS revokes conservative group's tax-exempt status over anti-Clinton statements: report
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Justice Dept.'s new clemency guidelines: Crack offenders most obvious candidates
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- EDITORIAL: Voting with one's feet shows folly of liberal economic policies
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014