Air Force Personnel Unhappy About Salaries, Benefits
Peace and Security
Monday, 17 August 2015
Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2015
Written by
Nilofar Rahmani | TOLOnews

Afghanistan Air Force members are unhappy about their salaries and working conditions and have called on the president to address their issues.

Nilofar Rahmani, an Afghan pilot who won an international bravery award for women, said pilots and other air force personnel were fed up with the poor conditions they were expected to accept.

The pilots claim their salaries are only 20,000 Afghanis a month, which does not go far as they still have to pay for their own accommodation. They have also complained about the unappetizing food they get. One pilot said that in Helmand, they are given a piece of bread, cold fries and burned meat for lunch.

"A great deal of money is spent before someone can become a pilot, but when they become a pilot, no attention is paid to them. If I see that this condition continues, I don't think I will be able to continue my job" says Jahed, a Kabul battalion pilot.

Afghanistan Air Force pilots fly numerous times a day in order to move military equipment, soldiers, or to transport injured military personnel to hospital.

The Air Force employs over 100 pilots, co-pilots and repair workers who say that their salaries are so low some don't even have homes. Shah Muhammad is an experienced pilot and says that he and his fellow pilots have been trained in Russia, United States and other countries, but very little attention is given to them once they join the Air Force.
"The salary that they pay us is very low, you can see our food, a piece of cold bread and fries. We have served for close to 30 years but we are not given land or homes. We want the senior army officials to pay attention to our condition" says Shah Muhammad, pilot of Kabul battalion.

The pilots have said that during operations, especially during the Zulfiqar operation, they transported wounded soldiers under difficult conditions, day and night.

Nilofar Rahmani is one of the pilots, who has been given an international bravery among women award and said: "The only request that I have for the president is that in the current conditions, every corner of Afghanistan is insecure, we have difficult flights every day, and at least we should be paid the salary of a [commercial] pilot" says Rahmani.

Air support is critical to the effectiveness of the Afghanistan National Army and the security forces. In the past 13 years, a number of planes and helicopters have been provided to the Air Force.

Afghanistan Air Force is one of the three main branches of Afghanistan army, responsible for air combat of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Air Force was founded in 1924, during the rule of King Amanullah Khan. In 1970, it was reformed and developed by King Zahir Shah. Afghanistan had over 100 fighters, and some helicopters. During the 1980s, the Soviet Union created a very strong Air Force for its allied government in Kabul and before the withdrawal of the communist government in Afghanistan, there were 7,000 employees, 5,000 foreign advisers, 240 fighter planes, 150 offensive helicopters and 35 to 40 military transportation planes in the Afghan Air Force.

The Afghan civil war resulted in a decrease in the numbers of air force personnel and during the Taliban rule Afghanistan had only a few helicopters. In 2007, Afghanistan Air Force was reconstructed and with the help of international aid, led by the U.S. Today, in addition to a number of helicopters there are 26 C208 airplanes and other transport planes.