About the Special Mission Wing

Initially, the Special Mission Wing (SMW), Afghanistan’s most elite helicopter unit tasked with the most dangerous missions, provided continuous combat air superiority to coalition assisted Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) with operational reach and manned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to support counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics missions. The SMW conducted day and night vision goggle (NVG) operations under the auspices of the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Ministry of Defense (MOD).

The SMW was organized in 2005 as the MOI’s Air Interdiction Unit to support clandestine operations against terror and narcotics operations and was created from a former Ministry of Interior air unit that provided support to multi-agency and Afghan special units.

In the summer of 2012, the Afghan MOI stood up the Special Mission Wing with shared leadership of MOI and MOD mentored and assisted by US/UK Special Operations personnel with approximately two hundred aviators and maintainers. Renamed it the 777th Special Mission Wing and expanded operations in 2015 - 2016 under MoD as an independent Air Wing to include four squadrons: two in Kabul, one in Kandahar, and one in Mazar-e-Sharif.  

Special Mission Wing member


The SMW was the only air intelligence capability in Afghanistan able to project Special Operations Forces (SOF) combat power in low visibility and provide ISR capability utilizing a fleet of PC-12NG single engine turboprop fixed-wing aircraft. The PC-12 aircrews received basic pilot training mostly from US D0D contractors followed by mission training from US Air Force Special Operations Air Advisors. The PC-12 aircraft provided real-time coverage of a potential target, guiding troops on the ground with an infrared laser known as sparkle – making the SMW one of the most advanced units in the region. 

The backbone of the SMW fleet was Mi-17 helicopters, which provided infil/exfil, personnel transport, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), and Quick Reaction Force (QRF). The three rotary wing squadrons operated Mi-17s and HH-60s. The Mi-17 and HH-60 aircrews received their training from contractors and the U.S. Army Special Operations Advisory Group (SOAG).

The crews flew missions 24/7 and were the only night vision asset capable of direct-action missions in support of coalition Special Forces and Afghan Special Mission units known as the triples. Their call sign, KING KONG brought fear to the enemy and a will to fight to the Afghan Special Forces on the ground. The SMW dismantled numerous terrorist and narcotics operations.


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I entered the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in 1989 and flew helicopters against the Soviets to expel them from Afghanistan. I lived through the first Taliban rule commencing in 1996. From the arrival of U.S. forces in 2001 until the collapse of my country on 15 August 2021, I served Afghanistan hoping to make it a Democratic government for all the people. In my role with the Special Mission Wing, I worked side by side with American military professionals planning missions and performing difficult tasks both day and night. The Afghan pilots and maintainers, trained by our American brothers in the U.S. Air Force, had to excel in the most difficult of conditions and under constant threat of terrorists. I am proud of the Afghan pilots and flight engineers many of whom who are in the United States as refugees due to their heroism depriving the Taliban of aerial weaponry. They need support to return to restore their aviation careers and preserve their families. We are no longer Afghans and Americans. We are future Afghan Americans.

Colonel Nazar Mohammad Azizi, Special Mission Wing
Deputy Chief of Operations
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 I served in the Afghan military alongside my American brothers for almost twenty years. I have participated in operations involving A 29, AC 208, MD 530, F 16, and PC 12 aircraft as we fought together in the war on terror. I am a pilot thanks to training from the U.S. Air Force. When the U.S. military withdrew from Afghanistan, our country collapsed to the Taliban, and many personnel from the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing made the final act of heroism by preventing aircraft and weapons from being captured by the Taliban. We were brought to this country as refugees and granted humanitarian parole because the Taliban vowed to kill anyone who supported the United States. Over 600 of us are now in America trying to re-establish careers in aviation and praying for our wives and children to be with us once again. Loyal allies to America for two decades, we ask for your support.

Lt. Colonel Abdul Khetab Sharifi, Special Mission Wing
PC 12NG Squadron

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