Ribbon-cutting signals the beginning. . . of the end?

After spending $18.1 million on a 56,000 square meter strategic airlift apron, 790 square meter passenger terminal, and 1,200 square meter cargo terminal, the U.S. Air Force can’t wait to. . . leave? 

That’s the essence of a recent NTM-A blog, South District turns over Shindand strategic airlift apron, cargo and passenger terminals.  The Shindand Air Base Commander, Col. John Hokaj stated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, “This facility will play an important role as the coalition begins to move equipment and personnel out of theater.”

The good news is that without those ostentatious C-17’s hogging all the ramp space, the Afghan Air Force will be able to park their entire fleet of C-208B’s, Cessna 182T’s,  C-27’s, and Mi-17’s in one place (if they can get them across the airfield). 

Recalling a previous post, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished a separate aircraft apron several months ago; a 112,000 square meter  apron at at the same location.  From reports (a retracted post at www.NTM-A.com and a USACE press release) one would think that all these projects directly support the AAF.  According to Lt. Col. Michael Kinslow, the 838th AEAG Deputy Commander, “This apron marks a significant milestone in the expansion of Shindand Air Base as it grows to become Afghanistan’s premier training base for the Afghan Air Force.”  However, both of these projects were built for U.S. aircraft (18 UH-60 Blackhawks, 14 CH-47 Chinooks, 10 AH-64 Apache helicopters, and three C-17’s–not a single one used by the AAF) and are located on the opposite side of the airfield from the Afghan Air Force facilities. 

Who’s kidding who?  Shindand is the only training base for the AAF and none of these improvements were designed to support anything other than Coalition Forces!

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