Bagram Air Base

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Bagram Air Base at the foot of the Hindu Kush . On the right in the picture the new tower completed in 2008 (December 2008) .

Coordinates: 34 ° 56 ′ 46 ″  N , 69 ° 15 ′ 54 ″  E

Map: Afghanistan
Bagram Air Base

The Bagram Air Base , within the US Army Bagram Airfield called, was the headquarters of the United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan . The former Soviet air base was also the most important military airfield for the US armed forces in this country. Inside the base was the Bagram military prison , which was the US Army's primary internment camp in Afghanistan - people suspected of terror were held there  without charge - similar to the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base .

When the US armed forces and their allies ended their mission in Afghanistan , the base was handed over to the Afghan National Army in early July 2021 .

Geographical location

The base is located about 11 km southeast of Tscharikar in the Parwan province and about 75 km northeast of the capital Kabul in the Bagram region . A few kilometers from the base are a number of historical sites such as the historical city of Kapisa, which was the summer capital of his empire during the rule of the Kushana ruler Kanishka . Furthermore, one suspects the ancient city of Alexandria ad Caucasum in the region around Bagram or around Tscharikar , which was founded by Alexander the Great during his campaign of conquest .


Afghan Air Force aircraft during a visit by US President Eisenhower in 1959.

Soviet and Afghan usage

The military airfield was built with Soviet help in the 1950s. During the Soviet occupation , the base was one of the main bases of operations for the Soviet Air Force in Afghanistan. At that time, the base comprised three large aircraft hangars, a control tower and a large number of other buildings. The runway was 3003 m long, the apron of the airfield had an area of ​​130,000 m².

Some of the destroyed Soviet-style aircraft - photographed by US troops at the end of 2001

After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, it served as a base for the then Afghan air force until the Taliban militias succeeded in bringing large parts of the country under their control. In the late 1990s, Taliban units fought against units of the National Islamic United Front to Save Afghanistan , better known as the Northern Alliance , on the premises . In the civil war at the time, the war front ran temporarily in the area. Many of the base's buildings were destroyed or severely damaged during these battles. Many of the aircraft that were still on the site at that time, which were predominantly Soviet designs, were also destroyed. In October and November 2001, the United States bombed remaining military targets on the site. This happened in the context of the then large-scale air strikes by the US on the positions of the Taliban.

Takeover and expansion by the USA

At the beginning the soldiers were mostly quartered in tents
(September 2002)
The old tower of the air force base ( Veterans Day 2008)

After the 2001 invasion , the Americans took over the heavily damaged base. Their runway had survived almost 20 years of armed conflict in the region and was still usable. The area of ​​the base had been heavily mined by Soviet and Afghan troops in previous years . The scenery was also littered with unexploded ordnance , called Unexploded Explosive Ordnance .

Initially, the soldiers were mostly housed in tents. By the end of 2003, the army replaced the tents with wooden barracks in which eight soldiers were quartered.

The detention center located inside the base was opened in 2002 as a makeshift facility.

According to a satellite photo, the base had already reached the size of a small town in 2004. At that time, the base consisted of hangars and some halls, mainly of temporary structures, i.e. mostly wooden barracks and container structures. At the beginning of 2005, the construction of long-term, durable masonry accommodation began.

Since November 2, 2006, medical care has been provided to the base at Bagram Airfield Hospital , also known as Craig Joint-Theater Hospital . This hospital , made up of concrete buildings and transportable modular units, had around 50 patient beds and, among other things, three operating theaters when it opened .

A recording from December 2008

At the end of 2006, the second runway, which was built for 68 million US dollars, went into operation. It was built parallel to the existing runway and, with a length of 3500 m, is almost 500 m longer than the other, so that the Antonov An-225 can also take off from here with maximum payload. US $ 50 million was invested in the new tower, which went into operation in 2009.

According to an aerial photo from March 2009, the base has meanwhile been massively expanded again, several new buildings have been erected on the site southeast of the two runways and some of the aircraft, namely the fighter planes and some helicopters, have been stationed there. The number of US personnel on the 24 square kilometer site has doubled to around 20,000. In 2009, construction work worth $ 200 million was planned or underway. In 2012 there were further tenders, for example for the construction of a new headquarters and maintenance facilities for combat aircraft.

In the course of the withdrawal of the US armed forces and their allies from Afghanistan, the last US soldiers left the Bagram Air Force Base by the beginning of July 2021. At times, up to 30,000 soldiers were stationed on the site. With the withdrawal, the base was handed over to the Afghan National Army.

Life on the base

The base had recently reached the size of a small town. According to reports - including from an American military newspaper - the base, including civilian support personnel, housed a total of around 20,000 people. Along the approximately 2.5 km long main street of the base, the so-called Disney Drive , there were shops and restaurants such as Burger King , Pizza Hut or Dairy Queen .

The basis was also an important economic factor for the region. Many residents of the nearby Afghan village worked on the base. According to the US Army, these local workers had to go through five security checkpoints to get to the base.

Military units and aircraft

A marshaller directs a C-17 Globemaster III to its parking position (July 2008)

Several thousand soldiers from various units are stationed on the base. Most of these are US troops. Soldiers from other countries who are operating as part of the ISAF mission also use this base. Most of the soldiers belong to US Army and US Air Force units ; US Navy units are also present. It is the headquarters of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing of the United States Air Force. About 1,300 men from this unit are stationed on the base. The Combined Joint Task Force-101 (CJTF-101) is also at the base. In addition to other military units, the base also houses an ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Team .

The base military airfield - which has the ICAO code OAIX - has more military aircraft movements than any other airport in Afghanistan. However, most of the goods used in Afghanistan are transported into the country by truck for reasons of cost and capacity.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II on the apron (August 2005)

Many HH-60 Pave Hawk transport helicopters  - a special modification of the UH-60 Black Hawk - and models of the larger CH-47 Chinook are stationed at the base . In addition, a squadron of ground attack aircraft of the type A-10 Thunderbolt II and some fighter jets of the type F-15E Strike Eagle are stationed in Bagram. Unmanned MQ-9 Reaper drones are also in use there. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing also uses C-130 Hercules transport aircraft at the base. The base is also regularly served by other heavy transport aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III . The largest aircraft permitted for the runway are the C-5 Galaxy and Boeing 747 .

On April 29, 2013, National Air Cargo Flight 102 , a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane loaded with military vehicles, crashed shortly after take-off in Bagram. All seven crew members were killed.


  • On December 25, 1979, the first day of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan , all 43 people on board were killed in the accident of an Ilyushin Il-76 M of the Soviet air force ( aircraft registration number CCCP-86036 ) near a mountain near Kanzak (northeast of Kabul ) ( the nine-man crew and 37 paratroopers). The aircraft coming from Tashkent- Yuzhny airport was flown in this CFIT ( Controlled flight into terrain ) approaching the Bagram military airfield in a mountain 36 km away. There were no navigation aids (radio beacons) and the crew were not familiar with the destination airfield and the terrain.
  • The base has repeatedly been the target of attacks. They were carried out both in the form of suicide attacks or car bombs, predominantly in front of the entrance to the base, and in the form of direct rocket attacks. In the most momentous to date, which was carried out in 2007 at the time of a visit by then US Vice President Dick Cheney , 23 people died.

Military prison

Cell in Bagram Military Prison
Nurses Office at Bagram Military Prison (captured before December 2009)

Main article: Bagram Military Prison

Bagram Air Base is the primary internment camp for the United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Around 600 actual or suspected terrorists are held as prisoners of war there and interrogated - without being charged with a crime.

The New York Times repeatedly reported ill-treatment and torture in the camp. In December 2002, two detainees died after days of ill-treatment and torture by the US military. According to the New York Times, conditions in the camp were much worse than in the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base . Few details became known as the military had completely sealed off the camp from the public.

The detainees had no access to lawyers and, according to the US government, no right to appeal their detention in a court of law.

Web links

Commons : Bagram Air Base  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Bagram  - on the news

Individual evidence

  1. a b Sgt. Thomas Tedone, 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron: Airfield operations flight keeps busiest airfield in Afghanistan operational. from: Bagram Air Base official website, October 23, 2008 ( online ), accessed February 3, 2009
  2. ^ A b c d Tim Golden: Foiling US Plan, Prison Expands in Afghanistan. In: The New York Times , January 8, 2007 ( online ), accessed January 31, 2009
  3. Michael R. Gordon: A nation challenged: Bagram; Securing Base, US Makes Its Brawn Blend In. In: The New York Times . December 3, 2001 ( online ), accessed May 2, 2009
  4. ^ A b c Reuters / Sanjeev Miglani: Afghan air force ready for take off, just needs planes. In: Daily Times (Pakistan) , June 8, 2002 ( online ( April 22, 2007 memento in the Internet Archive )), accessed February 3, 2009
  5. Satellite photos of the base, dated August 13, 2001, two months before the US military strikes, from: , ( online ), accessed February 1, 2009
  6. a b U.S. Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM), on the website : Environmental Conditions at Bagram Airfield - Information for Service Members. June 2004 ( PDF document ( Memento of July 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive )), accessed on March 21, 2009
  7. a b c Sgt. Russell Wicke, USAF: Airmen at Bagram Move From Tents to Huts. on: Department of Defense website , October 23, 2003, accessed February 1, 2009
  8. Eric Schmitt, Tim Golden: US Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan. In: The New York Times , May 17, 2008 ( online ), accessed February 19, 2009
  9. a b c Satellite photo , on Google Earth , dated October 8, 2004, Note: This is an old photo. In the meantime, the base has been expanded to include a second runway and additional buildings southeast of the runways. Retrieved February 1, 2009
  10. a b Kent Harris: Buildings Going Up at Bagram Air Base as US Forces Dig in for the Long Haul. on: Stars and Stripes website , Mideast Edition , March 15, 2005, accessed June 29, 2009
  11. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher of the Regional Command-East Public Affairs Office, on the US Airforce's website : New Bagram hospital offers state-of-art care. March 9, 2007 ( online ), accessed April 5, 2009
  12. ^ Sarah McCleary, on the website of the US Army Corps of Engineers : Bagram Airfield Combat Support Hospital Open For Holidays. December 27, 2006 ( PDF document ( Memento of June 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive )), accessed on April 5, 2009
  13. a b Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos: Bagram Airfield opens $ 68 million runway. from Bagram Airfield official website, December 21, 2006, accessed November 12, 2009
  14. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Bagram, General Information ( online ( Memento of February 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive )), section Airport improvements (at the bottom), accessed on March 21, 2009
  15. ^ AZ Group Ltd: on website , Bagram Air Base (OAIX). ( online ), accessed March 21, 2009
  16. Skyline expands at Bagram Air Base , from: , March 4, 2008, accessed November 14, 2009
  17. Capt. Toni Tones: Bagram welcomes new tower. Official Website, March 3, 2008, accessed November 14, 2009
  18. User marie_lexpress , on Flickr : Bagram , photographed on March 1st, 2009, uploaded on March 2nd, 2009 ( online ), description: In the foreground of the photo are buildings and parked warplanes, helicopters and military vehicles that are located southeast of the two runways, to see. The older part of the base with the large hangars is visible at the top right. Farther up there are settlements of Afghans, which, however, can hardly be seen in the picture. In the background the mountains of the Hindu Kush. Original description on Flickr: La base de Bagram. 18,000 soldiers vivent dans cette ville-hub par ou transitent beaucoup de deplacements militaires. last accessed on March 21, 2009
  19. Chuck Crumbo in Bagram Airfield keeps growing . More than $ 200 million in projects in the works. October 19, 2009 ( ).
  20. Nick Turse: With the US set to withdraw in 2014, military outposts are being shut down. The sheer number of them is staggering. - , September 4, 2012
  21. Afghanistan: USA and NATO withdraw the last soldiers from the Bagram base. In: Der Spiegel. Retrieved July 2, 2021 .
  22. Afghanistan: All NATO soldiers have left Bagram base. In: Der Spiegel. Retrieved July 2, 2021 .
  23. Stars and Stripes, Mideast edition , on website : C-17 mishap closes Bagram base. February 1, 2009 ( online ), accessed March 21, 2009
  24. Jim Landers, on With the Troops BLOG - of The Dallas Morning News : Veteran pilot shares the struggles of trying to navigate Afghan airfields. January 17, 2009 ( online ( Memento of May 2, 2009 in the Internet Archive )), accessed on March 21, 2009
  25. Spencer Ackerman, on , Internet news site: Welcome To Bagram. September 8, 2008 ( online ( memento of October 18, 2008 in the Internet Archive )), accessed on April 6, 2009
  26. BBC News: Bagram: US base in Afghanistan. In: BBC News , February 27, 2007 ( online ), accessed January 31, 2009
  27. Public Affairs: 455th Air Expeditionary Wing fact sheet. from: 455th Air Expeditionary Wing official website, 2009 ( online ), accessed February 1, 2009
  28. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Bagram, General Information ( online ( Memento of February 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive )), accessed on March 21, 2009
  29. AP / AFP / amz: Pakistan - Militants destroy supply route for NATO troops. In: Spiegel Online , February 3, 2009, accessed on February 3, 2009.
  30. a b Public Affairs of the US Air Force , on the official website of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing: Fact Sheet - 455th AEW Aircraft. ( online ), accessed February 24, 2009
  31. Sidney Dean, on , magazine of the Bundeswehr : Combat force of an F-16. February 29, 2008 ( ISSN  1617-5212 ), accessed April 5, 2009
  32. Oliver Markert: Boeing 747 crashes in front of the camera. In: Focus Online . May 1, 2013, accessed November 12, 2016.
  33. ^ Accident report IL-76M CCCP-86036 , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on March 9, 2019.
  34. a b Abdul Waheed Wafa: Cheney Unhurt After Bombing in Afghanistan. In: The New York Times , February 27, 2007, accessed June 25, 2009
  35. Car bomb explodes at Bagram. on: Stars and Stripes, Mideast edition , March 5, 2009, accessed June 29, 2009
  36. Reuters (Sayed Salahuddin, David Fox): Attack on key US Afghan base kills two soldiers.
  37. chrs / dpa / Reuters: Severe explosion on the American base in Bagram. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . November 12, 2016.
  38. a b Eric Schmitt: Afghan Prison Poses Problem in Overhaul of Detainee Policy. In: The New York Times , January 27, 2009 ( online ), accessed January 30, 2009
  39. Tim Golden: In US Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths. In: The New York Times , May 20, 2005 ( online ), accessed February 1, 2009
  40. ^ Matthias Gebauer: US military prison Bagram - test case for Obama's anti-terrorist course. In: Spiegel Online , January 27, 2009 ( online ), accessed January 30, 2009
  41. Charlie Savage: Obama upholds detainee policy in Afghanistan. In: The New York Times , February 21, 2009 ( online ), accessed February 22, 2009