Female Afghan Air Force Pilot Breaks Ground

Second Lt. Niloofar Rhmani became the first female in the Afghan air force to complete a fixed-wing combat mission, according to Air Forces Central Command. A member of the AAF’s Kabul Air Wing, Rhmani flew Afghan defense ministry officials from Kabul International Airport to Kandahar on July 18 “in support of government outreach operations,” states AFCENT’s release. Flying alongside her was Capt. Aaron Marx, a pilot advisor with Kabul’s 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. “It’s a great time to be a woman in the Afghan air force,” said Marx. The AAF is “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,” he said. In May, Rhmani became the first Afghan female to complete undergraduate pilot training and earn her pilot wings, states the July 22 release. “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.” (Kabul report by SSgt. Torri Ingalsbe)