The Taliban have called on Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to return to Afghanistan helicopters that were flown out of the country in mid-August, TOLONews says, citing the Taliban officials.  

“We have repeatedly asked the governments of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to return the helicopters.  Of course, they also have their own views on this and have not yet returned the helicopters,” Inayatullah Kharezmi, a spokesman for the Taliban Defense Ministry, was cited as saying in an interview with TOLONews TV channel said. 

TOLOnews reports about more than 40 helicopters, but it is not known how many helicopters are in Tajikistan and how many in Uzbekistan.  

Dispute over the helicopters flown out of Afghanistan between the Taliban and the governments of Tajikistan has begun a few days after they came to power in Kabul.  

Fergana news reported in early December that the Taliban have managed to return several Afghan combat aircraft and helicopters from Uzbekistan.  

Asia-Plus has not yet been able to receive comments on this issue from Tajikistan’s foreign and defense ministries. 

Meanwhile, TOLONews reported on January 4 that Latifullah Hakimi, director-general of the commission that controls airports, said the former government owned 164 aircraft, 81 of which are still in the country.

Islamic Emirate officials said that only 41 out of the 81 military aircraft are operational at the present.

He said more than half of the Afghan military aircraft were flown abroad during the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Hakimi said that former Afghan officials and military people flew dozens of aircraft to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The Taliban have reportedly begun efforts to regain the aircraft.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported on August 26 that over 45 Afghan Air Force aircraft were flown out of the country in mid-August, likely to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Taliban.  Satellite imagery of Termez International Airport in Uzbekistan captured on August 16 reportedly revealed several dozen Afghan military assets situated on the airport’s tarmac.  The platforms visible in the imagery included C-208 utility aircraft, A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, and Mi-17, Mi-25, and UH-60 helicopters. 

CSIS noted that the aircraft and helicopters were no longer visible in imagery of the airport acquired on August 21, indicating that their stop in Termez, Uzbekistan, was temporary and they were relocated. Imagery acquired on September 1 of Bohktar International Airport in Tajikistan reportedly revealed that 16 of the utility/transport attack aircraft previously seen at Termez International Airport were transferred here. The fate of the remaining aircraft and all the helicopters originally seen at Termez is unclear, CSIS added.