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Conversations With Afghan Women

Niloofar Rahmani, the first female Afghan fighter pilot after the fall of the Taliban, and Roya Rahmani, the first female ambassador to the U.S. from Afghanistan, share their stories.

September 16, 2019 //   2 minute read

In the last 18 years, women in Afghanistan have regained many freedoms the Taliban stripped from them like attending school, voting, and holding jobs. Should the United States and its allies hastily withdraw from Afghanistan, the incredible gains women have made are at stake. Below are two examples of Afghan trailblazers who have courageously forged paths that are at risk of backsliding. 

H.E. Roya Rahmani earned an appointment as the first female Afghan Ambassador to the United States in 2018, and has demonstrated how Afghan women can shape their country’s domestic and international policies. In a recent episode of The Strategerist, she shares her vision for the future of Afghanistan. 

In 2012, Captain Niloofar Rahmani became the first female fighter pilot in the Afghan military. The Taliban had forbidden her to attend school, work, or show her face in public. Supportive members of Rahmani’s family were driven into hiding after death threats and assassination attempts. As a result, she sought asylum in the United States in 2016 which was granted two years later. Even so, she broke barriers in Afghan society, demonstrating that women are capable of defending their country. During an interview for The Strategerist, she offers a message of hope to Afghan women and girls.