KABUL: Afghan Air Force 2nd Lt. Niloofar Rhmani, Kabul Air Wing pilot, added another feather to her cap of firsts after she completed the first fixed wing combat mission flown by a female on July 18.
Per a report on the US Airforce, Rhmani was the first female to complete undergraduate pilot training, and earn the status of pilot, in May. The combat mission she flew from Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan, included transport of Ministry of Defense officials to Kandahar in support of government outreach operations.
"When I'm flying a mission with passengers, I'm not worried about myself," Rhmani said. "I care more about making sure they are safe."
Rhmani explained why she felt reaching this milestone was important to Afghan history.
"Before, there were no female Afghan pilots," she said. "I'm trying to change the old culture for my people, and stand up for my people."
Capt. Aaron Marx, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group executive officer and pilot advisor, flew with Rhmani for her inaugural flight.
It's a great feeling for me," Marx said of being a part of the historical moment. "It's a great time to be a woman in the Afghan Air Force. They're making so much progress with gender integration here, and it's rewarding to see the pilots we're advising taking an active role in the operational transition."
Rhmani attributes much of her success to the support of her family.
"My family has always been very supportive of me," she said. "They have always helped me do what I wanted to do, and I'm very proud of them and the support they've given me."
Afghanistan is heading towards a military transition with the US led coalition troops handing over all security responsibilities to the Afghan troops. As part of this, the US is helping rebuild an Afghan airforce.
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