|History and Biodata
The military air base in Shindand is one of the biggest Airports cum other ground facilities in Afghanistan. Now a runway which is estimated to cost $40 million is under construction (20110923). Also the Shindand air university will be ready to become operational in December 2011 in the Shindand district of western Herat province. Students had to qualify an entrance test for admission in the university. Pilots from neighbouring provinces would also be able to get education at the university, a $280 million US funded project. Construction work on the facility at the Shindand Airport had already begun and it would take three months to complete.
Shindand was a Soviet-era base. It was captured by the Taliban forces in 1997. Originally built in 1961, the Soviet-built runway sustained massive damage during bombing when coalition forces initially entered Afghanistan in 2002. In 2010 the runway was refurbished so that it is able to support all Afghan National Army Air Force aircraft currently in use and opens western Afghanistan to larger fixed wing aircraft like the C-17 Globemaster III. In mid 2011 an expansion of the base was completed which tripled its size. Construction is scheduled to begin on a new 1.3-mile NATO training runway in early 2012. On August 16, 2004, at approximately 9:20 am, elements of the Afghan National Army's (ANA) Central Corps, 5th Kandak (Battalion) 3rd Brigade, departed the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Terminal of the Kabul International Airport aboard a Belgian C-130 aircraft. This deployment was part of the continued flow of ANA forces to western Afghanistan on a mission to restore the authority of the national government in southwestern Herat province and end a serious outbreak of factional fighting there.
As of 2006 Shindand had been used primarily by ISAF for humanitarian assistance operations.
U.S. Special Operations civil affairs teams established The Shindand Agricultural Experiment Station, in May of 2008, located within the perimeter of Shindand Airfield, the station is an attempt to provide desperately needed agricultural skills to Afghans and an effort to jumpstart agricultural production in the Shindand district. The agricultural center, boasts a greenhouse, honey house, four concrete fish ponds, a classroom and living quarters for three scientists. Thousands of pomegranates, grape vines, fruit trees, rose bushes and vegetables grew around the station.
The intent was to hire Afghan scientists who have a wide array of specialty skills ranging from vegetable production to fish farming. The scientists will teach classes and conduct research at the station and will go out into the villages and share their knowledge with local farmers, the six Afghans who work at the station provide maintenance, crop irrigation, weeding and planting support.
The station was already providing a three week course in honey production taught by an Afghan instructor, graduates are given a number of beehives and the tools necessary for honey production and extraction and were encouraged to share what they've learned with others. The station also will provide courses on agricultural skills such as poultry production and fish farming. In addition, the agricultural advisor works hand in hand with a U.S. Special Forces civil affairs team in establishing a fruit-drying warehouse and a poultry farm, which will be extensions of the agricultural station.