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Kabul airspace on August 20, 2021 0738L

Kabul airspace on August 20, 2021 0738L

C-17 Globemasters were the heavy lifters during the NEO - bringing in US military troops and pulling out personnel for evacuation. Different variants of the C-130 Hercules were used to move troops on to Kabul airport and evacuate personnel out of Afghanistan by several countries. The United Kingdom, France, Australia, Germany, and other countries also contributed aircraft for the evacuation of their embassy personnel and citizens. U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters provided security for the airfield. Other aircraft such as AC-130J Ghostriders flew overhead to provide close air support if/when needed. Reconnaissance aircraft such as the RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint provided on-scene intelligence collection and dissemination. 1. There have also been instances of an EC-130H Compass Call aircraft (electronic warfare and jamming) flying in the Afghanistan region.

KC-10 Extender at Rota, Spain - Kabul Airlift

Evacuees from Afghanistan depart a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender after landing
at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota Aug. 31, 2021. NAVSTA Rota is currently supporting
the Department of State mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation
of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable populations
from Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Nathan Carpenter, August 31, 2021.

The U.S. aircraft are taking off from bases in Qatar and the UAE, overlying Pakistan in a clearly defined air corridor, and landing at the military side of the Hamid Karzai International Airport. Once on the ground in Kabul the hot offload and hot onload personnel. They do not refuel in Kabul. The aircraft take off from Kabul with a light fuel load and immediately rendezvous with a tanker - most likely a KC-135 Stratotanker. They then fly back to either Qatar of the UAE.

Armed Overwatch was provided by F/A-18s, A-10s, B-52s, F-16s, and MQ-9 Reapers.

The aircraft involved in the movement of personnel from the US embassy to the airport included military helicopters as well as CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters belonging to the State Department.

Some aircraft will show up on online flight trackers such as Flight Radar 24. Other aircraft such as US air tankers (C/S Trout) and B-52s (C/S Grimm) will not show up on trackers that can be monitored by civilians. If you have Twitter you can track the air flow on a feed by the Military Air Tracking Alliance at .

A list of aircraft used in "The Kabul Airlift" was compiled by the Defence Geek (Twitter) and was current to Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

Some chartered aircraft have made the flight into Kabul - but these have been limited. Any aircraft that isn't military or commericial (scheduled airlines) need to have submitted a PPR form - "Prior Permission Required" to land at HKIA.

Tent City Ramstein Air Base - Kabul NEO

Ramstein Air Base, Germany - Tent City for Kabul Evacuees

Intermediate Staging Base - Transit Locations

When a U.S. flight departed Kabul airport it usually traveled to one of the intermediate staging or transit locations located in Doha, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Unite Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Ramstein AFB, Germany, Rota, Spain, or Sinolella Naval Air Station, Italy.

Ramstein Air Base in Germany has a small city of 15K evacuees living in 500 tents. The U.S. military is providing 35K meals and 50K bottles of water a day.

Onward Movement to the United States

Once processed at the overseas staging bases the Afghans are then flown to the United States to either Philadelphia or Virginia. Upon arrival they are transferred to housing sites where they undergo medical checks, coronavirus testing, immigration processing, and work permit applications.


Books about the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) of August 2021,
evacuation of AMCITs, LPRs, SIVs, and others, and the Afghan Evac community and effort.

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