Kabul, Jan 29 : With only four fixed-wing transport aircraft and 16 helicopters, the Afghan National Army Air Corps would not able to tackle on its own the Taliban threat facing the country.
According to the Combined Air Power Transition Force Commander Brigadier, General Jay Lindell, the Afghan National Army Air Corps, till January 5 had only four fixed-wing transport aircraft and 16 helicopters, needs a long-range support.
Lindell also said that the corps has 180 pilots, but their average age was 43 with several not flied in 15 years, and only 30 per cent of them were flying at all
All this suggests that unless there is any dramatic shift in political winds, the US air forces will be flying close air support combat missions in Afghanistan until at least 2013.
Brigadier Lindell feels that the daunting task of training the Afghanistan security forces to defend the country, menace of the Taliban, and the violence and instability in neighbouring Pakistan may aggravate a long-term US troop presence in Afghanistan.