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Afghan pilots at Uzbek camp fear deadly homecoming


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By Phil Stewart

"Sept 3 (Reuters) - The U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and others held at a camp in Uzbekistan already feared being sent back to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. So it was little comfort when an Uzbek guard unsympathetically quipped the other day: "You can't stay here forever."

The offhand warning added to an already grinding sense of unease at the camp just across Afghanistan's northern border, recounted one of the Afghan pilots who fled there with aircraft when ground forces fell to the Taliban in August as the United states and its allies withdrew their forces."


"Even before the Taliban takeover, U.S.-trained, English-speaking pilots had become their prime targets. Taliban fighters tracked them down when they went off-base and assassinated some pilots.

The Afghan pilot who spoke to Reuters estimated there were about 15 pilots who flew A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, 11 pilots who flew UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 12 pilots who flew MD-530 helicopters and many Mi-17 helicopter pilots."

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