Afghan Troops Switch From US Copters to Donkeys

Technological gap yawns wide as US hands off bases

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 9, 2012 3:39 PM CST

(Newser) – Just how big a void is the US leaving in Afghanistan? Well, let's put it this way: Whereas the US used helicopters to access its remote bases in rocky regions, Afghan forces are now using … donkeys. "Donkeys are the Afghan helicopter," one colonel tells the Washington Post. Hundreds of asses are already hard at work ferrying men and supplies to and from the bases that have been handed over to Afghan control.

Afghanistan has just 31 helicopters, and the US has made no promises it will get more. A furious Hamid Karzai has threatened to buy them off non-NATO countries. But in the meantime, it's up to the donkeys, and even they're proving too expensive for Afghanistan's corrupt and incompetent government. Some "donkey contractors" (read: local farmers) haven't been paid in almost a year. "Who knew that the end of this war would boil down to donkey contracts?" asks one NATO commander. "I wasn't trained for this."

Afghan women ride donkeys with their children, on the outskirts of Ab Kamari, the provincial capital of Badghis province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 2, 2012.
Afghan women ride donkeys with their children, on the outskirts of Ab Kamari, the provincial capital of Badghis province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 2, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)
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ou are the richest and most powerful country in the world. Of course you can afford helicopters. The best we can do is donkeys. Without donkeys, there would be no Afghan army. - Qamuddin, a 16-year-old
donkey handler in Afghanistan

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