Captain Nilofar Rahmani, the first female fixed-wing Afghan Air Force pilot in the history of Afghanistan, is among the recipients of the “International Women of Courage” award given annually by the U.S State Department.
Ms. Rahmani will be among the ten women receiving this award by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom and First Lady Michelle Obama. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 5th.
Captain Rahmani was 18 years old when she heard about the recruitment of young women into the Afghan Air Force, including the opportunity for pilot training. Soon after, she enlisted in officer training and graduated as a Second Lieutenant. In July 2012 – just two years after hearing the recruitment announcement – Captain Rahmani graduated from flight school and completed her first solo flight in September of that year. She continued to expand her skills and challenge all odds when she graduated from advanced flight training and became qualified to fly a C-208 military cargo aircraft.
This award is to honor ten women from around the world who go so far as to put their own lives in danger in order to break barriers and work to expand on the importance of human rights. Ms. Rahmani, whose family and herself have been threatened many times by the Taliban as a result of her employment by the Afghan Air force, is among them.