Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Captain Rahmani: Changing Perception in Afghanistan One Flight at a Time

Beating the odds in society, Captain Niloofar Rahmani is the first Afghan female pilot to serve in the Afghanistan’s military since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

24-year-old Rahmani defied tradition and culture to realize her dream of becoming a pilot and is titled first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan's history.

"They never expected a woman to be in the military or a pilot, so the only thing I could do is ignore them," said Rahmani.

Her inspiration was partly her father’s dream of becoming a pilot himself but was unable to due to the situation in the country. “No ordinary person could become a pilot in my country and only the ones with their fathers in government or with influence could pursue the profession,” she said in an interview with BBC. “Whenever my father would talk about how he couldn’t achieve his dream of becoming a pilot, I was worried and decided to do something to make him happy.”

Rahmani was awarded the U.S Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award in 2015. "This award is not just for me, it's for every woman in the world," she said.

The young pilot is determined not to quit. She stays strong so that other women can see and follow in her footsteps in order to make their dreams possible.

In Rahmani’s country where women’s rights are backward, she said “I wanted to be the first to go and accept this profession and be an example to other women behind me. To believe in one’s dreams and have self-confidence is something that makes a woman very powerful.”

“I am the same human the males are,” said Rahmani. “We have to change this perspective. We have to fight for this. If I don’t fight for my rights, who will? If I don’t do this now, when will it be done?”

Rahmani said she faces threats on a daily basis from the Taliban and other groups who don’t accept women working on the forefront. “I always hope there would come a time when people would learn to accept change in Afghanistan.”

Share Article

Write a comment