Afghan attack pilot training program ends after airmen kept going AWOL in US

Afghan attack pilot training program ends after airmen kept going AWOL in US
© U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Maygan Straight

A U.S.-based Afghan Air Force training program was abruptly ended after more than 40 percent of the trainees went absent without leave.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a quarterly report released this week that the training classes to fly the AC-208 light attack combat aircraft “were disbanded due to the number of trainees who were going” AWOL.

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“Those students that did not go AWOL were pulled back to Afghanistan to complete their training: as a result, only one class graduated from the U.S.-based program,” the report states, adding that remaining classes will finish their training in Afghanistan. 

The training program took place at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, Texas. SIGAR did not provide data on whether the AWOL pilots were recovered, according to the Air Force Times, the first to report the story.

The Afghan airmen are trained by a group of advisers called Train Advise Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air), managed by NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

TAAC-Air plans to continue the C-208 training and said the students “continue to progress to a self-sustaining level of proficiency.”

Foreign trainees going AWOL in the United States is not a new occurrence. About 320 foreign military trainees have gone AWOL while in the United States since 2005, SIGAR reported in October 2017