Afghan Air Force Maj. Hazim Amiri serves Afghanistan as the Kabul Air Wing Quick Reaction Force (QFR) commander. (NATO photo by Tech. Sgt. Nancy Kasberg)
By: Jackie Faye, Resolute Support Public Affairs
KABUL, Afghanistan – He thinks he is 37 years old, like most Afghans he is not sure of his age, but he knows for a fact that he has been in the Afghan Air Force (AAF) for 12 years.
"We were born in the wartime and we will die in the wartime, unless we fight to change the future,” said Afghan Air Force Maj. Hazim Amiri.
Amiri grew up in Panjshir province but moved to Kabul when he joined the military. Today, Amiri works as the Kabul Air Wing Quick Reaction Force (QRF) commander. In his role, he directs the response to any immediate threat at the wing.
Amiri gives credit to his military career for changing his perspective on the world and enabling him to see the potential of his own country.
Early on in his career, he recalls an American airman named Lt. Col. Baker. Amiri was a student in Baker’s topography class and graduated as the top student, which earned him a slot to study English abroad.
Other Afghans joked with him that once he left Afghanistan he would not want to come back. Amiri would silence them stating he would always return to his homeland, but credits leaving to showing him exactly what he was fighting for.
"I want people in Afghanistan to be able to live like they do in other countries, without war, without any bad things,” said Amiri.
In 2010, Amiri spent 10 months in England. It was the first time he had been outside Afghanistan; more firsts would follow. He was introduced to students from across the globe, many of them were women.
"Even though I have four boys, I saw how important education is for everyone, without education, improvement is impossible,” said Amiri.
When Amiri came back to Afghanistan he was a little more optimistic about his own future and the future of his beloved homeland.
Amiri does not own a car. He says making money has never been part of his life plan, stating money without freedom is worthless.
He hopes one day that he will be rewarded for his dedication to country with rank. He dreams of becoming a general or chief of staff.
Over the past decade, he says he does not know why he has survived, and feels that leaves him a duty to continue fighting for peace in Afghanistan.
He recalls being part of the quick reaction force that arrived on the scene after a deadly shooting at the Afghan Air Force headquarters, April 2011, nine American trainers were shot and killed by an Afghan pilot.
Afghan army officers and soldiers ran out of the building, some even jumping out of windows to get away.
By the time Amiri and his team got there the gunman had already killed himself.
In 2014, Amiri was part of the team that stopped the Taliban from entering the Kabul Air Wing at the North Gate.
Then in January 2015, his team once again responded to an insider attack. This time on the airfield. Three Americans died and a fourth was wounded before the shooter was killed.
On a date he cannot even remember, he said he got in yet another gunfight with the Taliban at a building close to the airbase, but no one was injured.
Then, in May of this year, he led the quick reaction force when 10 ISIS-K gunmen and three suicide bombers tried to enter the Ministry of Interior.
But the attack that hits closest to home for Amiri is one that he could not respond to and it is the one he thinks of most often.
He smiles proudly when he speaks of his nephew, Jawad. As a Commando, Jawad was a member of the elite Afghan special forces when he was gunned down by the Taliban in Helmand in May of 2014. Amiri says he will not let his death go in vain.
"I hope one day all Afghan children wake up without any bad things,” said Amiri.
It is a hope that has inspired his whole family. Three of Amiri’s nephews followed in his footsteps, signing up for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Two are battalion commanders and one, Jawad’s brother, serves as a company commander.
Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.