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First Afghan Airmen Complete Mi-17 Maintenance Course: Ten Afghan airmen have graduated the Mi-17 helicopter engine and body maintenance course at the Afghan air force base in Kabul, becoming the first AAF personnel to complete this training. "The Mi-17 is the centerpiece of the Afghan air force, and the AAF is going to have the Mi-17 for the next 25 years," said Lt. Col. Joseph Giuliani, a senior US Air Force air advisor in Kabul, who spoke at the Jan. 1 graduation ceremony, in highlighting the importance of this milestone for the fledgling air arm. Mongolian air force personnel, who joined NATO's training mission last October, taught the two-month course—in Russian—to the Afghans. It included classroom-based familiarization, followed by practical, hands-on application. "I am proud to be a professional now," said Lt. Nabiullah Ahmadi, one of the graduates. (Kabul report by MC2C Vladimir Potapenko)