Belgian F-16s head to Afghanistan
6 July 2005, BRUSSELS — Six Belgian F-16 jets departed for Afghanistan from the Florennes air base in the Namur province on Wednesday morning.
6 July 2005
BRUSSELS — Six Belgian F-16 jets departed for Afghanistan from the Florennes air base in the Namur province on Wednesday morning.
Four of the planes will remain in Afghanistan for six months in what will be the first Belgian airforce operation outside of Europe, news agency 'Skynet' reported.
All six F-16's departed at 9.30am on Wednesday for Akinci, located near the Turkish capital of Ankara.
Four planes were then scheduled to travel onwards to Afghanistan, but their departure from Turkey was delayed due to technical problems with a Dutch KDC-10 tanker plane. The earliest departure time is now Friday.
Once in Afghanistan, the four F-16s will guard and if necessary defend Kabul Airport in Afghanistan along with Dutch F-16 fighter jets. The operation is code named 'Eastern Eagle'.
The Belgian army has been active from the beginning of the peacekeeping operation in Afganistan, carried out by the International Security Assistance Force (ISDAF).
Led by Nato, the operation aims to help establish a representative government and bring peace and security to Afghanistan.
Since 2003, Belgian troops have primarily carried out surveillance and security of Kabul Airport, Flemish broadcaster VRT reported.
NATO took over command and coordination of the ISAF force in August 2003. Some 47 countries, including Belgium, participate in the international operation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news