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KABUL — With NATO forces on their way out, one of the greatest challenges for Afghanistan’s military is filling the hole left by departing air forces.

From resupplying bases to evacuating wounded soldiers, Afghan pilots are providing more and more support. But finding and training qualified crews and maintaining complicated aircraft continue to pose a challenge, meaning NATO advisers are preparing to stay at least until 2017.

Stars and Stripes flew along with the Afghans and their advisers on missions that also provide deadly serious on-the-job training.

smith.josh@stripes.com Twitter: @joshjonsmith

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