Afghanistan — Afghan Airmen Qualify for Night Vision Flights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2010 — Some Afghan air force mem­bers have qual­i­fied to fly heli­copters using night vision gog­gles, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan, yes­ter­day praised a group of Afghan air­men for com­plet­ing their first flight in Afghanistan using night vision gog­gles dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny held in the cap­i­tal of Kab­ul.

The Afghan air­men flew their Mi-17 heli­copter in black­out con­di­tions to and from an aus­tere, unlit land­ing zone dur­ing an Aug. 22 train­ing mis­sion.

“This mis­sion rep­re­sents anoth­er mile­stone in the growth and devel­op­ment of the Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces,” Petraeus said. “The Afghan air force should be very proud of this accom­plish­ment.”

The ini­tial cadre of Afghan crews qual­i­fied to fly with night vision equip­ment will con­sist of four pilots and two flight engi­neers. The next phase of train­ing will focus on night vision qual­i­fi­ca­tion for Afghan life-sup­port tech­ni­cians.

In oth­er recent Afghanistan news, Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces con­duct­ed numer­ous mis­sions across the coun­try.

In Kab­ul province:

— Afghan and coali­tion forces yes­ter­day con­tin­ued with an oper­a­tion that began Aug. 21 to clear Kab­ul of insur­gent fight­ers before the upcom­ing Afghan par­lia­men­tary elec­tions. The com­bined force has killed more than 35 Tal­iban fight­ers and cap­tured sev­er­al key Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tors in recent days. The force also has recov­ered an assort­ment of bomb-mak­ing mate­r­i­al includ­ing det­o­na­tor cord, blast­ing caps, sev­en 82 mm mor­tar rounds, 24 anti-tank mines, about 50 rock­et-pro­pelled grenades, and an unknown amount of home­made explo­sives used to make road­side bombs and sui­cide vests.

In Pak­ti­ka province:

— An impro­vised explo­sion device in the Zarghun Shar dis­trict wound­ed sev­en civil­ians yes­ter­day. The IED was plant­ed in a wheel­bar­row near a bar­ber­shop and was alleged­ly intend­ed for the local Afghan uni­formed police chief. Three of the sev­en were treat­ed at an Afghan army aid sta­tion and the oth­er four had minor wounds. The police chief was not injured.

In Kan­da­har province:

ISAF yes­ter­day con­firmed the cap­ture of an impro­vised explo­sive device com­man­der in Arghandab dis­trict dur­ing an Aug. 22 com­bined oper­a­tion. The com­man­der was detained along with five oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents. His fight­ers are believed respon­si­ble for attacks in Kan­da­har City and Arghandab dis­trict. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds in the vil­lage of Moham­mad Ya’qub Kalacheh in Arghandab dis­trict. They did not fire their weapons and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren through­out the search­es.

In Khost province:

— A com­bined force yes­ter­day detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents in Khost province, includ­ing a Haqqani Net­work facil­i­ta­tor believed respon­si­ble for the move­ment of weapons and mon­ey from Pak­istan into the Sabari dis­trict. The secu­ri­ty force tar­get­ed a series of com­pounds north of Mamad Kala in Sabari dis­trict to search for the facil­i­ta­tor. Afghan forces used a loud­speak­er to call for all occu­pants to exit the com­pounds peace­ful­ly, and then secured the area. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents at the scene, the force iden­ti­fied and detained the facil­i­ta­tor along with two addi­tion­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents. The secu­ri­ty force dis­cov­ered mul­ti­ple weapons at the scene. They did not fire their weapons and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren for the dura­tion of the search.

In Hel­mand province:

ISAF yes­ter­day con­firmed the Aug. 20 cap­ture of a Tal­iban fol­low­er believed to pro­vide weapons, mon­ey, equip­ment, and IED mate­ri­als to the group. Afghan and coali­tion forces went to a remote com­pound in the Lashkar Gah dis­trict to search for the man. Afghan forces used a loud­speak­er to call for all occu­pants to exit the com­pound peace­ful­ly, then secured the area. After ques­tion­ing res­i­dents at the scene, the secu­ri­ty force detained the man along with two addi­tion­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents. The secu­ri­ty force did not fire their weapons and they pro­tect­ed the women and chil­dren through­out the search.

In Par­wan province:

— The arrest of a vil­lager by Afghan author­i­ties report­ed­ly sparked a demon­stra­tion in the Bagram dis­trict yes­ter­day. A crowd of about 300 Afghan civil­ians sur­round­ed a coali­tion patrol and began throw­ing rocks and using steel bars to strike coali­tion vehi­cles. After sev­er­al attempts to stop the attack and dis­perse the crowd, coali­tion troops received small-arms fire direct­ed at them. Coali­tion forces returned warn­ing shots that impact­ed away from the crowd. There were no reports of Afghan civil­ian injuries.

In Badghis province:

— Twen­ty-one for­mer insur­gents turned in their weapons to Afghan author­i­ties in the cap­i­tal of Qal’ah-ye Now on Aug. 22. Afghan offi­cials issued each insur­gent a rein­te­gra­tion cer­tifi­cate. Rein­te­gra­tion is an Afghan-led effort where low- to mid-lev­el fight­ers can be wel­comed back into their com­mu­ni­ties by renounc­ing vio­lence against the Afghan gov­ern­ment and inter­na­tion­al sup­port­ers. They can have no ties to al-Qai­da, and must agree to an hon­est dia­logue with Afghan offi­cials. The insur­gent leader, who oper­at­ed in the Muqur area of Badghis, turned over a large num­ber of rifles, machine guns, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades and short-range radios.

Source:
Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force and ISAF Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter