Taliban adds two more restored aircraft to its air force

Mil Mi-35 of Afghan Air Force
USAF / Wikipedia

Taliban’s Ministry of National Defense announces restoring two more ex-Afghan Air Force aircraft and putting them into service.

A Mil Mi-35 attack helicopter and a Cessna 208 Caravan utility airplane were repaired, adding up to Taliban’s growing air force.

The regime’s officials now claim having over 60 aircraft in service, Afghan news network Ariana News reports.

Drawing on open-source intelligence, independent assessments put Taliban’s air force at around 40 aircraft, most of them helicopters.

Before Taliban took over in August 2021, Afghan Air Force reportedly had around 130 operational aircraft. Many of them were flown to neighboring countries to avoid Taliban’s lightning offensive as coalition forces withdrew and Afghan Armed Forces collapsed.

Tajikistan, which interned the bulk of Afghani aircraft and pilots, said not considering to return the assets to Taliban, while the Islamist regime demanded their return, as well as deliveries of other aircraft that were previously promised to pre-Taliban Afghan government.

As Taliban started offering amnesty to former Afghan Air Force pilots and restoring previously non-operational aircraft, the regime’s air force grew.

The available aircraft are often displayed during parades, allowing to confirm that the new Afghan government indeed refurbished a number of US- and Russian-made aircraft.

Most of them are HAL Cheetal, Mil Mi-8/17 and UH-60 Blackhawk transport helicopters, as well as Mi-24 attack helicopters and An-32/26 transport aircraft.

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