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Lack of close air support is a challenge: MoD

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Saturday said that despite significant improvement in the field of air transportation, lack of close air support (CAS) is still a challenge for military.

Commander of the Afghan Air Force, Major General Mohammad Dawran, said that progress have been made in fields of infrastructure and transportation, but due to lack of CAS units, army has installed weapons in transportation helicopters to provide CAS during operations.

“Close air support is crucial for security forces to have upper hands on the militants. Efforts are underway by the government to address the challenge. Airbases in Shindan, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar are ready for use while work over Gardiz airbase is in the progress. We can say that 90 percent of infrastructure is complete,” he said.

Training programs for army pilots have also shown progress. Several pilots are under training in the country and abroad, he added.

Chief of staff for operations of MoD, General Mohammed Afzal Aman, said that this year the Taliban’s attacks intensified, but army was ready to defeat the insurgents. He said that army has conducted 8,159 operations nationwide in the past three months.

Afghan security forces were leading and conducting operations independently in the country. Therefore, Afghan security forces suffered heavy casualties in the past three months as compared to same period of last year, he said, adding that despite increase in the Taliban’s attacks, the militants were standing as losers.

Gen. Aman added that only four districts including Desho and Baghran districts of Helmand, Nawah district of Ghazni and Khak-e-Afghan district of Zabul were under control of the Taliban.

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