Afghanistan MiG-21

Forty or so MiG-21F-13s arrived in Afghanistan in 1973, supplied by the Warsaw Pact and accompanied by technical personnel and pilots.

At the end of 1979 with the Soviet intervention, the Afghan Democratic Republic was reinforced by a contingent of 70 MiG-21MFs as well as 50 or so MiG-21bis and six MiG-21UIM two-seat trainers.

At the end of the eighties, the MiG-21s were spilt into two fighter regiments, situated at Bagram and Mazar-es-Sharif. These planes were used until the Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989. This withdrawal sounded the knell for the pro-Soviet regime which was finally overthrown by the Mujahidin who then proclaimed the Islamic State of Afghanistan.

The new government took over the Afghan air force’s aircraft among which there were a lot of MiG-21s. But because there weren’t any spares, most of the MiG-21s were grounded and only a few were used for the war lords’ arsenals.

During the civil war which broke out later, the MiG-21s carried out ground attack missions but also took part in some dogfights. Having got hold of the capital, Kabul, in March 1995.

Afghanistan MiG-21The Talibans, Islamic radicals from Pakistan, captured several MiG-21s which were made operational again with Pakistan help. When they were forced from power by the United States-led Allied offensive in the wake of the 11 September 2001 episode, the Talibans only had a handful of MiG-21s left in flying condition and an equivalent number of unserviceable planes, most of which were destroyed during the fighting.