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The Biden administration’s incompetence has created the conditions for a modern Dien Bin Phu in Kabul

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19.08.2021

Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) is one of the least defensible spaces in all of Afghanistan. It is surrounded by dense urban areas and commanding terrain features, which in the hands of anyone possessing ill intent and the means to manifest it means that the airport would cease to function as a place where lumbering transport and passenger aircraft could safely take off and land. Put simply, anyone armed with a heavy machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade could shoot down an aircraft operating out of HKIA at will. As luck would have it, Kabul is now filled to the brim with hostile people who are armed with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Military aviators will tell you that there are ways to enter and exit facilities like HKIA that minimize exposure to threats such as those outlined above. For years these procedures, known as ‘corkscrewing’, were practiced regularly at Baghdad International Airport (I have personally experienced this procedure, aboard a C-130 aircraft landing and taking off from Arar airfield in northern Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. It’s not for the faint of heart.) Given the loads that are being carried in and out of HKIA, however, radical flight maneuvers are not an option. Instead, the lumbering aircraft approach and depart while flying low and slow over terrain that friendly forces simply do not control.

Moreover, while on the ground, the aircraft are at the mercy of anyone possessing a mortar. Any combat veteran of Afghanistan can tell you that the Taliban not only possess a prodigious quantity of mortars of various calibers but are also extremely proficient in their use. There is nothing more vulnerable to the indirect fire from a mortar than parked aircraft –........

© RT.com


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