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Kandahar International Airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan US Military Bases in Afghanistan


Kandahar International Airport, Afghanistan is 16 km from Kandahar City, in the southern side of the country. It is one of the largest airports of Afghanistan. Until 2006, it was operated by the United States of America. It was taken over under the NATO administration since then. Due to the multiple damage encountered in the past, it had to go through a wide variety of improvements and repair operations in 2007. It was almost entirely rebuilt. These days, it is used for both civilian flights and military flights. Aside from the United States of America and the NATO forces, the International Security Assistance Force dispatched troops from more countries in the area.


The airport is said to be a pain among the pilots. Over the day, landing here is extremely complicated. The pilots have a hard time identifying the airport because its colors are similar to the sand around it. At the same time, the area is very dusty, so locating it from the sky brings in a lot of trouble. During the night, things are different. The airport is actively lit and can easily be spotted, especially since it is not surrounded by any human communities. It is the only light in the area.


Kandahar International Airport was built between 1956 and 1962, in an attempt of the Untied States of America to get ready for a potential war with the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Soviet Union was building a different airport in Kabul, in the northern part of the country. The USA were supposed to get a military base here as well, not to mention about the original purpose of the airport as a “pit stop”. However, with the improvements in the jet aircrafts, the airport was no longer needed, therefore it was rarely used.


During the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, the airport was still in place and used by the USSR forces. Aside from the airstrip, the buildings remained intact, which is quite important considering the intense fighting in this part of Afghanistan.


During its Taliban times, the airport was used in a peaceful way. The Talibans never caused any problems in the area due to the peaceful times their country was going through. The airport was used for humanitarian operations and supported the UN and Red Cross flights, as well as a few civilian flights. It did see a sad moment in 1999, when some terrorists hijacked an Indian plane and demanded the release of three terrorists in exchange of the passengers. The deal is not entirely known, but the terrorists were released by the Indian government.


The housing system at Kandahar International Airport is supported for the individuals dispatched here to work. Since the area is not really surrounded by a city and the country is still not very secure, all the inhabitants are hosted on site. The system is run by the NATO. Purchasing a permanent home here is not that easy, considering the fact that most troops are dispatched here temporarily.