The Story Of The Mysterious White 727 That Appeared In Kabul After The Bombing Of Abbey Gate

The old 727 showing up among the military transports at Kabul International drew a lot of interest

The evacuation of Kabul is like none other in history. With open-source intelligence tools abound, including daily satellite images, flight tracking, and even a live camera feed overwatching Hamid Karzai International Airport, the average person can keep tabs on this historic event and unprecedented multi-national military operation in their own homes. In the panopticon that is today’s internet age, peculiarities stand out. One such surprise was seeing a gleaming-white, but quite geriatric 727-200 appear on Kabul’s ragged skyline, landing at the under siege airport amongst the constant flow of C-17s, A400Ms, C-130s, a few modern airliners, and other usual suspects.

While all-white airframes aren’t supposed to attract much attention, that paint scheme is also synonymous with clandestine operations, including “whitewashed” aircraft often used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for low-profile operations abroad. With that reality in mind, keen observers keeping an eye on traffic at Hamid Karzai International rightfully started thinking this may be some CIA asset that was slipping in on a unique mission. It turns out, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Thanks to a wonderful story by Erika Gibson of South Africa’s Mail and Guardian, we learned the backstory on this most interesting of participants in the tumultuous aerial evacuation of Afghanistan.

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