The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has taken delivery of two Mi-17 helicopters at Shindand Air Base in Herat province in western Afghanistan.

The Mi-17 helicopters will be the first AAF aircraft to be assigned to the base and will be used for advanced pilot training.

Nato Air Training Command-Afghanistan commander US Air Force Brig. Gen. David Allvin said the Mi-17s were symbolic of the training centre of excellence that Shindand will become.

“Nato will not be here forever, so everything we build, we are building to make sure Afghanistan has the best air force possible,” he said.

The Shindand base will become a pilot and crew training centre for Afghan pilots and instructors, and is expected to expand to 40 aircraft and 900 personnel by 2015, according to