May 27, 2005 (by Bjorn Claes) - Today, the Belgian government decided to send 4 F-16 fighters together with a 65 men detachment of both the 2nd FW of Florennes AB and the 10th FW of Kleine Brogel AB to Kabul International Airport for an initial period of 6 months.
BAF F-16AM #FA-124 during take off at Schleswig AB on September 9th, 2004 ready to fly home. [Photo by Roel Reijne
The fighters will be deployed from mid July under the authority of ISAF
. The F-16s will be placed under joint command with the Dutch F-16s who are also deployed there. This marks the second time (after the deployment over Bosnia and Kosovo from 1996 till 1999) that the so-called DATF will be brought into action.
The deployment of these F-16s is part of the extension of the mission of ISAF to include also the northern and western provinces of Afghanistan. Their presence in the air is mainly required as deterrence but if necessary they will be deployed to support the ISAF ground forces. This support is also provided through the entire period leading up to the parliamentary elections due to be held in September of 2005.