July 19, 2012: This has not been a good year for Afghan military aviation. The Afghan Air Force has 102 aircraft and helicopters. So far this year most have been grounded because of maintenance issues. Afghan officers complain that is largely due to the fact that America and other NATO nations gave the Afghans too many used aircraft and not enough new stuff. Foreigners observe that corruption, low education levels, and stiff competition for skilled Afghans has meant that the Afghans are unable to adequately maintain and repair the aircraft they have.
Key personnel are hired away by civilian aviation firms that can pay more. There are not a lot of Afghans capable of becoming aircraft maintenance technicians to begin with. Afghanistan has the lowest education levels in Eurasia and the lowest literacy rate. Foreign donors insist that the air force recruit and train local maintenance personnel. That can be done, with difficulty. But the good ones soon get hired away from civilian firms or immigrate.
The corruption means that needed spare parts never arrive because the money for their purchase was stolen. Or if the parts are on hand, they often disappear into the black market. It's all part of the local culture, which means that if you have Afghans operating and maintaining the aircraft, those aircraft won't be flying much.