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Afghan Air Interdiction Unit - Strength through training

KABUL, Afghanistan - An AIU Mi-17 aircraft inserts a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) comprised of Australian Special Operations Forces mentored Crisis Response Unit (CRU), a specialized SWAT-like MoI ground unit during an exercise on May 25, 2010. (U.S. Military photo/RELEASED).

KABUL, Afghanistan - An AIU Mi-17 aircraft inserts a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) comprised of Australian Special Operations Forces mentored Crisis Response Unit (CRU), a specialized SWAT-like MoI ground unit during an exercise on May 25, 2010. (U.S. Military photo/RELEASED).

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The first three Afghan Ministry of Interior's Air Interdiction Unit graduates have successfully finished flight training and are now rated aviators. Additionally, the first AIU members graduated from the UH-60 helicopter mechanics course at the United States Army Aviation Logistics School (USAALS) in Fort Eustis, Va.

After more than 16 months of hard work, Maj. Muzafari, 1st Lts Warsaji and Kabeer graduated from flight school on May 25, 2010 at Fort Ruckers, Ala. They endured 16 months of being separated from their family, while they attended the Defense Language Institue to improve their English and finished their initial entry helicopter training at Fort Ruckers to become pilots.

Capt. Paktiawal, 1st Lts Aabed and Ibrahimkhel graduated from the helicopter mechanics course on May 21, 2010 and were flown to Fort Rucker, Ala. to watch their AIU brother's flight school graduation.

After return to Afghanistan and some much deserved time with their families, all six individuals will be sent to the Mi-17 transport helicopter qualification training, where the rated aviators will become pilots and the USAALS graduates will serve as Flight Engineers.

Two more are slated to finish flight school in June 2010, steadily increasing the number of qualified members of the Afghan Air Ainterdiction Unit.