Marching ahead: Afghan Air Force pilot makes history

Niloofer Rhmani became the first woman to complete combat mission.

News Desk July 25, 2013
"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." PHOTO: AFCENT.AF.MIL

Kabul Air Wing pilot, and Second Lieutenant Niloofer Rhmani of the Afghan Air Force became the first woman to complete the first fixed wing combat mission on July 18, according to US Air Forces Central Command.

Earlier in May, Rhmani was the first female to earn the status of pilot after completing undergraduate pilot training.

The combat mission she flew included transporting defence ministry officials from Kabul to Kandahar in support of the government’s outreach operations.

“When I’m flying a mission with passengers, I’m not worried about myself,” Rhmani said, adding that she cares more about making sure the passengers are safe.

“Before, there were no female Afghan pilots, and I’m trying to change the old culture for my people,” Rhmani said explaining why reaching the milestone was important for Afghan history.

Rhmani’s co-pilot in her inaugural flight, Captain Aaron Marx, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group executive officer and pilot advisor said it was a great time to be a woman in the Afghan Air Force.

“They’re making so much progress with gender integration here, that it’s rewarding to see pilots we’re advising, taking an active role in the operational transition,” he said.

Rhmani praises her family’s role for her success.

“My family has always been very supportive of me,” she said adding that her family always helped her do what she wanted to.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.


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