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  • Mazar-e-Sharif Upgraded
    Posted by Robert Wall 11:18 AM on Dec 30, 2009

    Improvements in logistics support and day-to-day flight operations should result from the inauguration of a new runway at Mazar-e-Sharif.

    Construction on the 3,000-meter long, 45-meter wide runway began in March and operations were inaugurated on December 25 with the takeoff by two German air force Tornado reconnaissance aircraft, the service says.

    The Luftwaffe has six Tornados, six CH-53s and eight Transall C-160s based at Mazar-e-Sharif, its main operating location in Afghanistan.

    The airfield is now also equipped with an instrument landing system and better lighting.

    The enhancements will allow Boeing 747s and Antonov An-124s to operate from the air field, improving the flow of supplies to the facility located in northern Afghanistan.

    What's more, it should ease an influx of German forces into Afghanistan as part of the U.S.-led expansion of military operations in the country, if only the German government would decide to increase its contribution. Berlin says it is holding off on a decision about force levels until an international conference on Afghanistan convenes in London at the end of January. But prospects for a meaningful change in the German military's presence aren't good. 

    The improvements at Mazar-e-Sharif will also aid the growth of civilian air traffic into the region, which has been on the rise of late, the Luftwaffe says.

    Tags: ar99, Afghanistan, Luftwaffe, ISAF

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