Taliban Assassins threaten multibillion-dollar US efforts to keep Afghan airmen flying
The Taliban is training assassins and using them to target Afghanistan’s tiny number of trained airmen, personnel that are of great importance to Afghanistan’s counter-Taliban efforts and that have been trained at great cost to the U.S. The U.S. is currently spending $11.4 billion dollars to modernize the Afghani Air Force, improve their numbers by 20%, and triple their aircraft by 2023. But due to their importance and expense, the Taliban has decided to target them. An earlier $6.6 billion dollar effort by the U.S. trained 9,000 Afghani airmen, who now conduct more airstrikes in the country than the U.S. Air Force. The most recent targets of the Taliban campaign were two of the most experienced airmen in the program, one of whom was at one point the country’s only C-130 flight engineer and the other one of the country’s only C-130 pilots. A former U.S. commander explained that the “mission is not just to train pilots, it is to develop a sustainable and effective air force,” a mission that is under constant bombardment by Taliban mortar fire and other efforts to derail it.