The Afghan Air Force (AFF) for the first time in the last 17 years conducted night raids to suppress militants and decrease the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) casualties, the Defense Ministry said on Friday.
The ministry said the first night raid by the Air Force was conducted on Saturday night in Uruzgan province in which an A-29 fighter bombed a militant hideout.
Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed, spokesman for Ministry of Defense, said the night raid was conducted successfully by the AAF and that the operations are aimed at supporting forces on the ground.
“Before this, the Afghan Air Force was not able to conduct in night time operations to bomb insurgents or support government forces on-time,” said Jawed.
Jawed said that Afghan pilots have been trained on conducting night raids and supporting the ANDSF in their military operations during the past two months.
“Night raids will decrease casualties among the government forces and also they will address all our needs in deploying foods and weapons to soldiers and in transfer of wounded troops,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said.
“Two units have been effective in operations: one is commandos and another is Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid Hamid, Commander of Atal 205th Corps.
The night raids started amid concerns over casualties among government forces in insecure areas in the country.
Some analysts said the night raids by the AAF is a good move but emphasized that the Afghan Air Force should be careful in conducting theiroperations in order to prevent civilian casualties.
“Our soldiers should have the best weapons and should undertake the best training to stand against the enemies of the country and use their weapons and skills,” said Shakoor Dadras, a military affairs analyst.
According to the ministry, the new efforts are part of a four-year security plan, which also includes providing of Balck Hawks and other fighters tothe AAF, training of Afghan pilots and increasing the number of AAF personnel by three times.