Afghan soldiers loading an Afghan Air Force helicopter. Provided by US taxpayers, this Kazan made Mi-17 is a tried and true Soviet design. With a payload more than three times greater than the Blackhawk and around one third the cost, this provides a significant response to the insurgency. Relatively easy to maintain and know for their resiliency, these also have the advantage of Afgan trained mechanics being familiar with them. Their predecesor, the Mi24 were donated by the Soviets and used by the Afghan government to fight Mujahideen in the late 70s. Around $17 million each, some of that money is surely finding its way to the Russian mob. No word on whether the Afghans can fly at night; one of the first deliveries crashed here on base not far from the Bhut where I stay. It was disassembled and carted off.