Last update: 03-Jun-2004 19:28 NATO Update

1 June 2004

NATO assumes control of Kabul International Airport

2 June 2004 - SHAPE
Turkish helicopters arrive in Kabul
NATO in Afghanistan
Key links
Website of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
A ceremony held at Kabul International Airport on 1 June marked the formal transfer of authority over the airport to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

This completes the handover of the military part of the airport from the German Air Force to the NATO-led ISAF. Iceland is the lead nation providing staff and resources for the operation of the airport.

The airport is an essential supply line for delivering goods, equipment and troops for ISAF, as well as supplies for other international organisations active in Afghanistan.

Assistance and support

ISAF will also assist the Afghan Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, responsible for the civilian part of the airport, with the overall operation of the airport and logistics.

On behalf of the Commander ISAF, the Deputy Commander ISAF, Major General Wolfgang Korte, transferred the responsibility for the operation of Kabul International Airport from Colonel M. Kuhn of Germany to Colonel Halli Sigurdson of Iceland.

A press conference was held at the conclusion of the ceremony, attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Mr. Halldor Asgrimsson, by the Deputy Minister of Defence of Germany, Mr. Klaus-Guenther Biederbick and Brigadier General Gero Schachthoefer, the Deputy Commander Air of ISAF.

Earlier, on 30 May, ISAF’s capabilities were reinforced by three Turkish UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, which were flown in on Antonov heavy lift transport aircraft to the airport.

Turkey already has over 160 soldiers currently serving with ISAF and the helicopter detachment included an additional 56 Turkish personnel including 12 pilots and 16 technicians.

The Blackhawks will be used primarily as troop carriers and logistics support aircraft but they can also be configured to carry out medical evacuation, command and control, search and rescue, armed escort and executive transport missions.