Small Wars Journal

Call it SFA, FID, BPC, Whatever...

Facing Language Gaps and 'Flying Trucks,' US Trains Afghan Pilots - Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times

Col. James A. Brandon flew Black Hawks when Moscow was considered a mortal foe of the United States and spent years in the Army studying enemy aircraft. So he now finds it a little bizarre to be piloting an old MI-17 Russian helicopter, a legacy of the Soviet invaders here, in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan.

But in a case of going to war with not just the military you have, but the military your enemy once had, Colonel Brandon is a leader of a bumpy American effort to build an Afghan Air Force from the wreckage up. To do that as quickly and (relatively) cheaply as possible, the United States is training American pilots to fly the helicopters of the former Soviet Union - Colonel Brandon calls them "flying trucks" - so the American pilots can in turn train, or retrain, Afghan pilots who once flew for the Russians, the Taliban or powerful warlords.

More at The New York Times.