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TAAC-Air speaks of mission in its new name

TAAC-Air Patch

TAAC-Air Patch (Courtesy photo)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE OQAB, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- For more than seven years, NATO Air Training Command – Afghanistan has been working side-by-side with Afghan National Security Forces to build, strengthen and empower the Afghan air force.

With the transition toward Resolute Support, as of Jan. 14, NATC-A has been renamed to Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air, or TAAC-Air

“This change aligns the name of our organization with other commands under Resolute Support who perform similar train, advise, and assist missions for the Afghan National Security Forces, such as TAAC-East and TAAC-North.” said Brig. Gen. Michael Rothstein, the commander of TAAC-Air. “TAAC-Air is focused on building the capacity and sustainability of the Afghan air force throughout Afghanistan.”

“Despite the change in name, our mission remains the same,” Rothstein said. “The proud men and women of TAAC-Air have trained, advised and assisted our Afghan partners since 2007. We are committed to the development of a professional, capable and sustainable Afghan air force.”

The newly named TAAC-Air is composed of nearly 250 U.S. service members and approximately 50 coalition partners from Greece, Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey and Denmark.

Based in Kabul, with an advisory group in Kandahar, TAAC-Air covers all of Afghanistan.

TAAC-Air advisors work to develop the Afghan air force across their entire air enterprise — from fixed and rotary wing operations and maintenance, to engineering and logistics, to force development and helping them build a budget.

The Afghan air force operates the Mi-17 transport helicopter, Mi-35 attack helicopter, Cessna 208B basic trainer and light lift aircraft, MD-530 light attack helicopter and the C-130 medium lift Hercules. Additional efforts are underway to include the A-29 Super Tucano light air support fighter, with future Afghan pilots currently in training in the U.S.

In the last year, the Afghan air force has taken over much of the mission, providing casualty evacuation and aerial attack in support of Afghan ground forces, added Rothstein. Likewise, Afghans are providing the majority of helicopter and much of the fixed wing maintenance.

“Since the inception of our mission in 2007, our Afghan partners have come a long way,” Rothstein said. “I’m proud to say the professional men and women of the Afghan air force have demonstrated to the coalition their willingness to take the lead in conducting operations throughout Afghanistan every day. We look forward to building on this momentum into the future as TAAC-Air.”

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