Might of the Taliban Air Force: Islamists now have 48 aircraft including Black Hawks and A-29 attack planes after US retreat left them with more air power than many NATO nations

 The Taliban have seized an air force worth tens of millions of pounds, including US-bought helicopters and attack planes, giving them more aerial firepower than a third of Nato members. 

Over the last few months, the jihadists have captured 10 major airfields from Bagram to Mazar-i-Sharif, and today took to the skies in a $6 million Black Hawk helicopter in their fight against the resistance in the Panjshir Valley.

Taliban chiefs are reported to have ordered their troops to hunt down pilots from the disbanded Afghan Air Force, who received expensive training from the US and its allies to fly high-tech warplanes and choppers.

The jewel in the crown, Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, was seized on Tuesday by triumphant jihadists who were seen clambering into the cockpit of a $14 million Hercules transport jet. 

The Afghan Air Force was operating 167 aircraft, including 108 helicopters and 59 planes, according to an official U.S. government inspection on June 30. 

Before Kabul fell, Uzbekistan confirmed that 46 Afghan aircraft, including 24 helicopters, had arrived in the country in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Taliban. 

The commander of the US evacuation mission, Gen. Frank McKenzie, said American troops disabled 73 aircraft before finally leaving the country on Monday night.

That leaves as many as 48 aircraft seized by the Taliban, although it is unclear what the breakdown is in terms of planes and helicopters. 

Nevertheless, the Islamists have more air power than 10 of the 30 Nato members, including: Albania, Bosnia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia. 

The Taliban are believed to have got hold of as many as 48 aircraft which the US and its allies were either unable to disable or fly overseas. This means that the terrorists have an air force which is greater in number than that of 10 Nato countries

The Taliban are believed to have got hold of as many as 48 aircraft which the US and its allies were either unable to disable or fly overseas. This means that the terrorists have an air force which is greater in number than that of 10 Nato countries

A US-made $6 million UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is seen flying over a convoy of Taliban fighters on its way to join the fight against the resistance in the Panjshir Valley on Wednesday
A Black Hawk being flown by the Taliban today

A US-made $6 million UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is seen flying over a convoy of Taliban fighters on its way to join the fight against the resistance in the Panjshir Valley on Wednesday


A Taliban fighter poses in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport plane that was left behind during the evacuation

A Taliban fighter poses in the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport plane that was left behind during the evacuation

An A-29 attack plane is surrounded by kit left behind by western forces as they retreated from Kabul airport

An A-29 attack plane is surrounded by kit left behind by western forces as they retreated from Kabul airport

A-29 attack planes which appear largely intact are seen alongside a huge amount of western body armour and tactical helmets left behind by retreating troops

A-29 attack planes which appear largely intact are seen alongside a huge amount of western body armour and tactical helmets left behind by retreating troops


At the top of the Nato tree is the United States with more than 13,000 aircraft, followed by France with 1,057, Turkey with 1,056, Italy with 876 and the United Kingdom with 738. 

It is unclear how many former pilots the Taliban have been able to recruit, however, a video which emerged on social media this month showed a group of militants flying in a Russian-made Mi-17 chopper. 

Another today, showed a Black Hawk heading to the contested Panjshir Valley north of Kabul where the country's last stand is being fought by the Northern Alliance resistance fighters. 

It is unlikely that an amateur would be able to get such a helicopter off the ground, let alone be able to land it. 

According to the June 30 tally by the US-based Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), the Afghan Air Force had 43 MD-530 helicopters, 33 Black Hawks, 32 Mi-17s, 33 C-208 propeller planes, 23 A-19 turboprop light attack planes and 3 Hercules C-130s. 


Footage uploaded to social media shows Taliban fighters driving armored vehicles through Kandahar after vanquishing the US-backed Afghan National Army

Footage uploaded to social media shows Taliban fighters driving armored vehicles through Kandahar after vanquishing the US-backed Afghan National Army


Soviet-era tanks are filmed by advancing Taliban fighters. The Russians fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and also left behind some of their hardware
Soviet-era tanks are filmed by the Taliban

Soviet-era tanks are filmed by advancing Taliban fighters. The Russians fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and also left behind some of their hardware

A Taliban fighter filmed an array of Soviet-era tanks. It's unclear what military worth, if any, the vehicles still have

A Taliban fighter filmed an array of Soviet-era tanks. It's unclear what military worth, if any, the vehicles still have


A single Black Hawk helicopter costs around $6 million, while a Hercules transport jet comes in at $14 million per unit.

Although many of the planes were flown away before the runways were seized, satellite imagery revealed that not all of them made it.

Analysis of satellite images commissioned by the BBC revealed that six days after Kandahar airport was captured by the Taliban, there were five aircraft - at least two MI-17s choppers, two Black Hawks and a third unidentified helicopter.

Around a month before the airbase was seized, there were 16 aircraft spotted - including nine Black Hawks, two MI-17s and five fixed-wing planes. 

The aircraft were either flown to other runways in the country or shifted overseas.

Might of the Taliban Air Force: Islamists now have 48 aircraft including Black Hawks and A-29 attack planes after US retreat left them with more air power than many NATO nations Might of the Taliban Air Force: Islamists now have 48 aircraft including Black Hawks and A-29 attack planes after US retreat left them with more air power than many NATO nations Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:49 Rating: 5

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