The Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI, Italian Air Force) continues to send its airlift assets to Kabul, Afghanistan, as coalition forces push ahead with the evacuation of civil/military personnel, former Afghan collaborators and their families from the nation.
In recent days, the AMI has sent a number of its Lockheed Martin C-130J/J-30 Super Hercules tactical transports and Boeing KC-767A tankers to Afghanistan as it continues to support the mass withdrawal effort of coalition forces in light of the Taliban’s recent advances across the nation. The C-130J/J-30s involved are operated by the 46° Brigata Aerea (46th Air Brigade) at Pisa Air Base (AB) in Tuscany, while the KC-767As are operated by the AMI’s 14° Stormo (14th Wing) from Pratica di Mare AB, in Lazio.
Italian efforts began on August 15, when a KC-767A conducted the first airlift mission from Kabul. It returned to Italy with approximately 70 Italian and Afghan passengers aboard. Since then, AMI C-130J/J-30s have deployed to Kuwait, where they are able to quickly conduct flights to and from Afghanistan. A KC-767A then completes the second leg of the journey, airlifting civil/military personnel and refugees from Kuwait to Italy.
The AMI said: “This sort of ‘relay’ that combines tactical transport and strategic transport allows the air force and the [Ministry of Defence] to ensure in a short time the repatriation and safe evacuation of military and civilian personnel from Afghanistan.”
On August 18, a further 85 people were evacuated from Afghanistan, with the KC-767A arriving at Rome-Fiumicino International Airport in Rome, Italy. Later that day, a further two C-130J/J-30s departed Kuwait for Afghanistan to airlift roughly 150 more people out of Kabul. In total, seven aircraft – comprising four C-130J/J-30s and three KC-767As – are involved in the withdrawal effort.
Italy’s Minister of Defence, Lorenzo Guerini, added: “The [Ministry of Defense is at] maximum commitment to evacuate those who have collaborated with Italy. Our commitment is to work with the utmost effort to complete the evacuation plan for Afghan collaborators, activists and those exposed to danger.”