A quarterly report by the United States Special Inspector to Afghanistan, or SIGAR, released on Oct. 30, reveals that the US provided up to $7.9 billion to support and develop the Afghan Air Force, or AFF, between 2010 to 2019.
The report says $1.7 billion of the total amount was allocated for fiscal year 2019, which is $71.9 million less than what SIGAR reported last quarter.
The report says the funds allocated to the Afghan Air Force in 2019 was $295.4 million more than the money allocated to other elements of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, or ANDSF.
But former Air Force officials said the US fund to the AFF is not sufficient and that any fundamental work has not been done in this sector.
“This is not an air force. It is a little better than zero. I mean that they have neither proper combat aircraft nor transportation aircraft or combat and intelligence helicopters. The United States assistance has been insufficient and is not worth mentioning,” said Gen. Atiqullah Amarkhail (Ret.), a military analyst and former commander of the Afghan Air Force.
“Used aircraft have been sent to Afghanistan. You witnessed how many helicopters crash-landed recently… Therefore, our Air Force is ‘very weak’,” said Mohammad Hashim Alokozai, a member of the Afghan Senate’s Defense Committee.
The AAF’s current in-country inventory, as of October 1, 2019, includes 183 aircraft (158 of which are operational).
The SIGAR report shows that as in previous years, a large portion of the AAF’s fiscal year 2019 funds has been designated for AAF sustainment costs ($842.1 million, or 51%).
These funds, the report says, are primarily used to pay for contractor-provided maintenance, major and minor repairs, and procurement of parts and supplies for the AAF’s in-country inventory of seven air platforms: UH-60, MD-530, and Mi-17 helicopters; A-29, C-208, and AC-208 fixed-wing aircraft; and C-130 transport aircraft.
Moreover, the report shows that the US Defense Department allocated $531.5 million (32%) of the AAF’s FY 2019 funds for equipment and transportation costs.