Belgian F-16s will guard Dutch skies and vice versa from 2016 on. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Belgian Air Component F-16s leave Afghanistan

Belgian F-16s will guard Dutch skies and vice versa from 2016 on. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Mission over in Afghanistan, but just starting over Iraq. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Slowly but surely, NATO air operations over Afghanistan begin to dwindle in size. Earlier in 2014, the Royal Netherlands Air Force ended its F-16 detachment in the country, in September the NATO E-3A Component returned home, and now the Belgian Air Component has also ended flights over Afghanistan. Their F-16’s flew their final missions on Sunday 28 September 2014, ending six years of operation ‘Guardian Falcon’.

Based at Kandahar, the Belgian Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons were part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), providing air support for troops on the ground. According to the Belgians, their F-16s are the last aircraft to leave Kandahar.

At any time, six F-16’s and 100 personnel were based in Kandahar. All will have returned to either Kleine Brogel or Florennes airbase in Belgium by the beginning of October. Meanwhile, another detachment has started in Jordan, were the Belgian Air Component has joined air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest