Termites attack German base on Afghan border

Pilots supporting NATO's battle with the Taliban from a German airbase just north of Afghanistan are facing a new and dangerous enemy: termites.

Termites attack German base on Afghan border
Photo: DPA

An infestation of the insects at Termez airport in southern Uzbekistan threatens a catastrophic collapse of the runway or a short circuit in electronic equipment, a leading local scientist warned on Wednesday.

“Termites have infested 200 hectares of airport land, including under the concrete runway … which may cause a collapse when heavy planes land,” said Oloviddin Hamroyev, a professor at the country’s Zoology Institute.

The airport administration cannot afford the $180,000 (€116,000) needed to evict the pests and end the threat to flights supporting the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, he said.

Germany has been using a base in Termez, on the border with Afghanistan, since 2002 and has about 300 troops there, mostly maintenance crews. Other NATO allies also use the airbase on their way to Afghanistan.