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Shindand Airbase
33°23'29"N 62°15'40"E

The Shindand Airbase's runway has a length of 2,700 meters/9,140 feet.

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.

There were various U.S. forces at Shindand starting in 2002.

On August 16, 2004, at approximately 9:20 am, elements of the Afghan National Army's (ANA) Central Corps, 5th Kandak (Battalion) 3rd Brigade, departed the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Terminal of the Kabul International Airport aboard a Belgian C-130 aircraft. This deployment was part of the continued flow of ANA forces to western Afghanistan on a mission to restore the authority of the national government in southwestern Heart province and end a serious outbreak of factional fighting there.

Fighting had broken out at Shindand on 14 August 2004 when militia forces under the control of Herat Provincial Governor Ismail Khan were attacked by militia forces loyal to Amanullah Khan. Within hours of the initiation of the hostilities at Shindand, the government of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and its Ministry of Defense had made the decision to deploy ANA forces to retake Shindand Airport and restore national government authority. With logistical, planning and transportation support from Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan and ISAF, ANA troops deployed August 15 and secured Shindand Airport without incident.

The Afghan National Army soldiers regained control of the Shindand National Airport and garrison facilities. The purpose of the deployment was to return the occupied national property back to governmental control and ensure order is restored to the Shindand area. National government diplomatic efforts continue to halt the fighting and force the rival factions apart. The Afghan National Army secured Shindand National Airport without incident.

US aircraft began using the base in September 2004 in connection with the downfall of local Afghan strongman Ismail Khan, who was Herat province governor and who previously had controlled the base. Iran expressed major objections to the US use of Shindand air base in western Afghanistan, fearing it is being used to conduct surveillance on Iran.

By early 2005 there had been a draw down the forces at Shindand to a much smaller number in anticipation for ISAF and NATO moving into the west. Both Shindand and Herat are important airfields to the west for humanitarian assistance, which increased under ISAF control as we stand up the ISAF in the west. It is unclear what ISAF plans to do with Shindand or how much operations they have into Herat. But there will be operations into Herat to support humanitarian assistance.

As of early 2005 it was unclear what would happen to Shindand. It had some runway damage and things like that that would have to repaired before there was any significant operation out of there. Shindand has been very important in some of the medical evacuation of both Coalition forces, as well as Afghan citizens in the west. There were several cases, with the Afghan chief of police or Afghan National Army that have been wounded in some type of action, and the Coalition had flown aircraft into Shindand to use that airfield to evacuate them back to a hospital. So the Coalition still used Shindand, especially for that type of medical evacuation and for humanitarian assistance type operations. Primarily, it's only airlift type of aircraft and helicopters, and that's all that is flown in and out of there.

As of 2006 Shindand had been used primarily by ISAF for humanitarian assistance operations.

U.S. Special Operations civil affairs teams established The Shindand Agricultural Experiment Station, in May of 2008, located within the perimeter of Shindand Airfield, the station is an attempt to provide desperately needed agricultural skills to Afghans and an effort to jumpstart agricultural production in the Shindand district. The agricultural center, boasts a greenhouse, honey house, four concrete fish ponds, a classroom and living quarters for three scientists. Thousands of pomegranates, grape vines, fruit trees, rose bushes and vegetables grew around the station.

The intent was to hire Afghan scientists who have a wide array of specialty skills ranging from vegetable production to fish farming. The scientists will teach classes and conduct research at the station and will go out into the villages and share their knowledge with local farmers, the six Afghans who work at the station provide maintenance, crop irrigation, weeding and planting support.

The station was already providing a three week course in honey production taught by an Afghan instructor, graduates are given a number of beehives and the tools necessary for honey production and extraction and were encouraged to share what they've learned with others. The station also will provide courses on agricultural skills such as poultry production and fish farming. In addition, the agricultural advisor works hand in hand with a U.S. Special Forces civil affairs team in establishing a fruit-drying warehouse and a poultry farm, which will be extensions of the agricultural station.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:32:40 ZULU