Afghan air force desperate for aircraft: Commander

Afghanistan’s fledgling air force is more like a bicycle than…

Afghanistan’s fledgling air force is more like a bicycle than a modern fighting machine, its commander has said, pleading for advanced aircraft to fight the Taliban as U.S.-led Nato forces prepare to withdraw.

Air power is crucial in the rugged country where a poor road network is often mined by insurgents, and the Afghan government is pressing hard for the U.S. to boost its air capability before it pulls out next year.

“We will face huge and complicated challenges if the Americans do not provide us with these planes,” Major General Abdul Wahab Wardak told AFP, listing a range of attack and transport aircraft he says Afghanistan needs.

In Washington on Tuesday President Barack Obama announced that 34,000 U.S. troops will withdraw from the country by the end of 2013, with the remaining half leaving by the end of 2014, taking with them their far superior firepower.

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