Niloofar Rahmani, the first female airplane pilot in Afghanistan became a female icon of what a woman can accomplish in the nation's post-Taliban era, but with her fame came threats to her life. She had to go into hiding, even from some of her own relatives who would kill her for her life choice.
After three years since earning her wings, the 25-year-old Afghan air force pilot would like to start a new life in the United States and has applied for asylum. She says her life would be in danger if she returned home.
Captain Rahmani trained in the U.S. on C-130 transport planes with the U.S. Air Force in 2015. The course just ended Thursday and she was due to return to her homeland on Saturday.
She will not be leaving for now, as she values her life, and getting stoned to death isn't her thing.
"I would love to fly for my country--that is what I always wanted to do," she said. "But I'm scared for my life."
She trained at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas.
It stands to reason that Rahmani knew before starting her training that going back to Afghanistan would be dangerous for her. Perhaps it was her plan all along to seek asylum once completing her training. Even if that is the case, it would be cruel of us to return her to the medieval Islamic society that cannot tolerate a woman's independence and self-reliance.
I say grant her asylum--but verify her background.