Afghanistan - Airfields

Afghanistan has a number of major and secondary airfields at which cargo flights could deliver some tens of thousand of metric tons of goods annually. Six Afghan airfields probably can handle long-range, heavy transports such as the Il-76, capable of carrying up to 40 metric tons of cargo. Another seven smaller airfields can handle at least short-range, light to-medium, transport aircraft-such as the An-26, An-32, and C-130 which can carry up to 20, metric tons of cargo.

By mid 1985 the Soviets had built or significantly improved seven airbases: Herat, Shindand, Farah, Qandahar, Kabul International Airport, Bagrami, and Jalalabad. Airfields at Mazar a Sharif, Konduz, Ghazni, and Pol a Charkhi also were improved somewhat. All were turned into all weather, jet air bases (although: Jalalabad continued to be principally for helicopters). The two most important air bases, where the sensitive technical support and maintenance capabilities were located, were at Bagrami and Shindand the former serving as the supreme local headquarters for the entire Soviet military operation in Afghanistan. Most military aircraft were not permanently based at any one field, for maintenance and support were concentrated at these two fields. No Afghans were permitted on the Shindand Air Base.

In the early 1990s Afghan Air Force units were reportedly deployed at five airfields around the country -- the military air bases at Shindand, the Kabul International and Kandahar dual use civil/military airfields, and the civilian airports at Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. Other military air bases include Bagram and Jalalabad. Civilian airfields include Kunduz, Maimana, Shebergan, and Talulqan. Another large concentration of Soviet personnel was at Bagram, some 50 kilometers north of Kabul.

Bagram was regarded as the most critical air base in the country, with the greatest concentration of aircraft and Air Force personnel, along with an independent regiment and a brigade from the 108th Kabul-based MRD. Soviet troops operated from Shindand Airbase in western Afghanistan during the 1980s, with a division (5th GMRD)) protecting this second most important airbase. Soviet fixed-wing aircraft were used to attack villages which might serve as Mujahideen bases, while helicopter gunships attacked guerrillas in contact with Soviet ground troops.

The Rabbani government air force bombarded Shindand airbase held by Hezb-e Islami in August 1992. To the north of Kabul, the city of Charikar and Bagram military airbase were recaptured by the Taliban in early 1997. In September 1997 the Taliban captured the eastern province of Farah and the city of Shindand, site of Afghanistan's largest air force base.

The Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) was delegated the Airspace Control Authority (ACA) for Afghanistan and the Kabul Flight Information Region (FIR) effective 0730 UTC 11 February 2002 until further notice. As of 2005 operational aerodromes in Afghanistan were: Kabul International (OAKB), Kandahar (OAKN), Bagram (OAIX), and Kunduz (OAUZ). Civil aircraft operations at other airfields may be permitted with prior approval.

Key priorities, for the period 2004-2010, in the civil aviation and tourism subprogram include the following public investments: Upgrading of Kabul Airport to a fully-fledged international airport meeting ICAO standards; Upgrading Herat, Mazar and Jalalabad airports to international standards; Upgrading 15 major domestic airports at Badakshan, Bamyan, Bost, Chagcharan, Faizabad, Gardez, Khawahan, Khost, Kunduz, Maymana, Qala-I-Naw, Sheberghan, Taloqan, Yakawlang, and Zaranz.

Airport  Type Runway length Latitude Longitude
meters feet
Bagram Airbase Military 3,000 9,842 3456'46"N 34.946139 6915'54"E 69.264972
Bamian  / Bamiyan unknown 1,500 3449'00"N 34.8167 6749'00"E 67.8167
Chagcharan '"N . '"E .
Fayzabad / Faizabad unknown 1,800 3707'00"N 37.1167 7031'00"E 70.5167
Herat Civilian 2,600 8,255 3412'32"N 34.208889 6213'41"E 62.228056
Jalalabad Military 1,800 6,000 3424'03"N 34.400833 7029'50"E 70.497222
Kabul International Civ/Mil 3,500 11,483 3434'00"N 34.566667 6912'32"E 69.208889
Kandahar / Qandahar Civ/Mil 3,200 10,500 3130'21"N 31.505833 6550'52"E 65.847778
Konduz / Kunduz Civilian 2,000 6,562 3639'54"N 36.665 6854'39"E 68.910833
Mazar-e Sharif Civilian 3,100 10,361 3642'25"N 36.706944 6712'33"E 67.209167
Meymanah / Maimana Civilian 2,000 5,224 3555'50"N 35.930556 6445'41"E 64.761389
Rhino FOB
Sheberghan Civilian 2,600 8,599 3645'01"N 36.750278 6554'54"E 65.915000
Shindand Airbase Military 2,700 9,140 3323'29"N 33.391389 6215'40"E 62.261111
Taloqan / Talulqan Civilian 2,000 5,164 3646'15"N 36.77075 6931'55"E 69.532000

Join the mailing list


privacy policy