Home » Books News » Afghanistan’s first female pilot paid a steep price for the freedom to fly

Afghanistan’s first female pilot paid a steep price for the freedom to fly

When Niloofar Rahmani was a teenager in Afghanistan, she confided in her best friend that she wanted to be a pilot someday. Her friend laughed, replying that “In Kabul, the only things that fly are pigeons and the Americans.” The response was understandable: It was only a few years after 9/11, and while the Taliban were no longer in power and Rahmani was finally attending school along with other neighborhood girls, women were still treated like second-class citizens. Her ambition seemed almost delusional.

“Open Skies: My Life as Afghanistan’s First Female Pilot” is Rahmani’s compelling account of how she achieved her unlikely dream. The author was born in Afghanistan in late 1991, but within months her family had fled to a refugee camp in Pakistan to escape the civil war that brought intense fighting to Kabul. After three years in the camp, they settled into an apartment in Karachi, but several years later, homesick and weary of living as refugees, her parents moved the family back to Afghanistan, which was by then under Taliban control.  

Kabul had once been known as the “Paris of Central Asia.” But upon her family’s return in 1999, Rahmani writes, “there was no music, there were no colorful kites in the air, there were no bustling bazaars, and there were no travelers who’d come from faraway places.” Worse, there was “no place for women … except as modern-day slaves who were treated worse than animals.”

Source link

x

Check Also

Book News: NPR books editor Petra Mayer has died

NPR books editor Petra Mayer has died Nov 15 2021 Petra Mayer, a beloved books ...