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  EVENTS  
 
FRONT LINE AIR FORCE
   
The PAF on Alert
The First Fighter Trainer
Propel to the Jet Age
First Jet Aerobatic Team
PAF Enters the Jet Age
Preparing for a World Record
Cobras Draw First Blood
World's First Bomber Formation Loop
M M Alam's F-86
The PAF "Falcons" Make History
Sqn Ldr Rafiqui Opens the September Account
Interdiction at Gurdaspur
The F-6 Joins the PAF
Pathankot Strike
Arrival of the Mirage
Sabre Takes a Superior Aircraft
The Star Fighters' Farewell Flight
Sherdils
Front Line Air Force
F-16 Destroys an Intruder
PAF F-16 Downs SU-22
PAF Pilots Evaluate the F-7MG
The Super Seven, New PAF Fighter Takes Shape
PAF Test Pilot creates history by Flying JF-17 'Thunder' Aircraft
Fourth Prototype of JF-17 'Thunder' Successfully Completes Inagural Flight
Stunning Pakistan Air force Aircraft Scoops Three Awards at Royal International Air Tattoo Show, UK
JF-17 Arrive in Pakistan
JF-17 Thunder makes debute on Pakistan Day Parade
First ever female, in the history of Pakistan, takes off with para Motor Gliders
Manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder Sub-Assemblies Commence at PAC


FRONT LINE AIR FORCE
1981-2002


When on the 1979 Christmas Eve the Soviet Union sent in its army and air force to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan felt duty bound to become a sympathetic host to eventually 5 million refugees. For demanding Soviet withdrawal and providing shelter and unwavering support to the Afghans, Pakistan earned the animosity of Moscow and became a frontline state overnight. The United States led a coalition of solidarity with the Afghan Mujahideen and Pakistan. The lightly armed Afghans fought courageously a difficult, bloody war against the regular Soviet forces, supported by hundreds of gunship helicopters and jet fighter bombers. These aircraft frequently violated Pakistan's territory on the pretext of hitting the Mujahideen sanctuaries, killing many Pakistani civilians each time. The PAF's F-16s (available from 1983 onward) played a key role in bolstering the Mujahideen's morale and keeping the Soviet air power from crushing the resistance. The F-16 pilots were not allowed hot pursuit into Afghanistan, but fought some classic air combats during which they scored 7 kills without any loss. The Geneva Accord of March 1988 and the Soviet withdrawal in May replaced external aggression with internal war in Afghanistan, since the pro-Soviet government still held power in Kabul. Despite Pakistan's timely appeals little international support was pledged for taking the post-withdrawal Afghanistan through an era of peace and reconstruction. America's engagement with Afghanistan ended abruptly with the Soviet withdrawal, and Pakistan's role as a Cold War ally also ceased without ceremony as that war too ended in 1991. The Mujahideen factions, no longer united, began a race for Kabul and an interim joint government set up in 1992 was mired in feuds and discord. Efforts by the anxious Gulf States and Pakistan to reunite the factions failed each time due to ethnically based mistrust and overconfidence among the veteran warlords. The power struggle led to a civil war (1992-1994) that left each warlord weakened and destroyed most of the traditional tolerance within Afghanistan's multi-ethnic society. This vacuum was filled by the new, and initially popular, Taliban forces from Kandahar, which rapidly gained control over most of Afghanistan, capturing Kabul in late 1996. On 11 May 1998, India went overtly nuclear, perceiving an acquiescent world environment for its hegemonic ambitions. Two days later its Prime Minister threatened Islamabad with nuclear attack. Pakistan had long anticipated such behaviour and the PAF had already taken necessary anticipatory measures. Waiting two weeks to confirm its belief that Pakistan's restraint will not guarantee its security, Islamabad too carried out its nuclear tests at Chaghai on 28 and 30 May. Meanwhile, the Afghans continued to suffer with unchallenged power but no modern education or experience of running a country, the Taliban Government began to rule with harsh, unreasonable laws, based on questionable interpretation of religious tenets. The Taliban leaders were soon left without any friends except Pakistan, and they began to spurn the well-meant advice of even this last friend. The Taliban's repeated refusals to oust known terrorists made them an enemy to government, particularly after the shocking attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in September 2001. Pakistan strongly condemned these attacks and on its joining the international community's war on terrorism, the PAF was assigned vital national security tasks. Sensing an opportunity, India immediately began an arrogant display of its military power, while Pakistan, by the compulsions of its geo-strategic location, once again became a front line state.
 
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