First fixed-wing Afghan female pilot requests asylum in US
By Khaama Press - Sat Dec 24 2016, 10:28 am
Capt. Niloofar Rahmani informed regarding her intention to remain in the United States on Thursday after completing a 15-month training in Texas.
“Things are not changing” for the better in Afghanistan, Captain Rahmani told The New York Times in an interview on Friday. “Things are getting worse and worse.”
According to the Times, Capt. Rahmani broke a sobering piece of news to her American trainers, saying she still wants to be a military pilot, but not under her country’s flag. This summer, she filed a petition seeking asylum in the United States, where she hopes to eventually join the Air Force.
This comes as reports emerged late last year suggesting that Capt. Rahmani is receiving death threats.
She is one of the celebrated pilots in the history of Afghanistan for being the first female pilot to fly fixed-wing plane and was presented the International Women of Courage award for the year 2015 in Washington DC.
“Niloofar is as committed to encouraging other young women to follow in her footsteps now as she was as an 18-year-old dreaming of flight school. For her bravery in the face of threats of violence and commitment to an inclusive future for Afghanistan’s women and girls, we honor Captain Rahmani as a woman of courage,” The American 1st lady stated in the citation presented at the ceremony last year.
She graduated from Shindand airbase of Herat province in the year 2013 and at the time of joining the air force academy Nilofar said she wanted to fly with her brothers and serve for her country.