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Taking a Load off Their Backs: The fledgling Afghan National Army Air Force, with the help of its US Air Force advisors, took another step in growing its capabilities with the completion of its first C-27 airdrop mission on June 30. The airdrop occurred over the skies of Kalat. The mission was the "first, full-on, no-playing-around air drop" with an ANAAF C-27 transport, said Lt. Col. James Piel, commander of USAF's 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron that trains and mentors Afghan airmen. Piel piloted the C-27 during this mission, during which a heavy payload of water bottles was released. This mission was the final check of the ability of the ANAAF's C-27s to perform in this role. "The Afghan crews and pilots are learning these capabilities and gaining confidence in the plane," said Piel. In Wednesday's column, we reported on the growth of the Afghan's C-27 pilot force. (Kabul report Dave Quillen)