As the Afghan government crumbled last year, the US began talks with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to exchange roughly 50 military aircraft that had been moved across the border in exchange for assistance in countering terrorists in Afghanistan.
The US wants to trade US-donated Afghan aircraft for Central Asian countries’ support in battling terrorism in Afghanistan, according to reports in the international media citing sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
In exchange for an unofficial agreement to “deepen security relationships” regarding border security and counterterrorism, it is intended to provide a number of aircraft to the governments of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Politico reported.
After Afghan air force pilots transported the donated U.S. aircraft to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan last year to flee Taliban capture, the future of the aircraft has been in uncertainty for over a year.
While the helicopters and light attack planes, which the Taliban claim belong to Afghanistan, according to Uzbek authorities, they are American property and will not be given back.
Politico reported citing the US official that the US intends to first asses the aircraft to see whether they are capable of flight and then may be handed to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The move comes as the U.S. military no longer has a presence on the ground, and a former security official of the US, General Frank McKenzie, stated that the US has “very, very limited” intelligence capacity in Afghanistan.