Afghan Warlord Rashid Dostum connected to Victor Bout?

Photo © R.Leeuw

YA-GAF from Balkh Airlines

I came across this Boeing 707 one day at Ostend IAP,Belgium and looked up its history. In itself interesting enough.
It made its first flight at Boeing-Renton as N17325 (msn19177/513) on 22jul66. A week later it was delivered to Continental Airlines. Varig do Brasil bought it 25may73 and registered it as PP-VLN.
In 1988 it was modified with hush-kits. In oct89 it was purchased by Aviation Leasing Group (N110BV) and leased to various parties, such as Buffalo Airways (1989), Malev (1990), Aer Lingus (1990), and Aer Turas (1990). These were short leases, probably for one or two flights. That same year, in november, it was leased by Uganda Airlines and reregistered 5X-UCM. Part of this registration can still be seen on the photo.
This aircraft was used, in july 1991, for the evacuation of the Yugoslav Federal Army and civilians from Croatia and Bosnia. Crew reported that sometimes 500-600 were carried on flights ! On 30aug91 it was intercepted by Yugoslav Air Force Mig-21s with an arms shipment for the Croatian army and forced to land at Plesno. It was impounded. An adventurous career !
It was ferried to Belgrade and used as a VIP-transport during 1992. In 1996 it had to be placed in storage due to poor condition of the aircraft. It had accumulated 72.385 flighthours on the airframe.

Its history to Afghanistan, warlords and possibly Victor Bout started in January 1997 when it was bought by Balkh Airlines and ferried to Ostend.
In the excellent book "Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid one can read about a "warlord", named Rashid Dostum. He ruled his empire in northern Afghanistan in the early 1990s. He started Balkh Airlines, operating from Mazar-e-Sharif, bringing in contraband from Dubai, trading along ancient routes with Pakistan, Iran and Central-Asian countries.
Balkh at one time was a flourishing city, a center of civilization & culture, Buddhism & Islam, but was destroyed by Gengis Khan in 1220. Nearby Mazar-e-Sharif took over the role of center of trade. Now only ruines of Balkh remain.
On May 19th 1997 (!) Dostum had to run for the Taliban as an ally (Malik) sold him out. Dostum fled to Iran.
So, no wonder this YA-GAF has gone nowhere since it arrived at Ostend in 1991.
But Rashid Dostum was back in Afghanistan in 2001, fighting the Taliban with the 'Northern Alliance". He is now (nov.2001) referred to in the press as an "Alliance-General" (probably because the term "warlord" does not go well with a Western world ally!).

Boeing 707 YA-GAF was scrapped at Ostend in July 2004: Photo on Airliners.net
Information about Balkh Airlines, Rashid Dostum or his alleged connection with Viktor Bout will be greatly appreciated.

Larry Hammick sent me the link to Wikipedia: Abdul_Rashid_Dostum on Wikipedia


To Victor Bout's file