Eagle Profile

Captain Niloofar Rahmani was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Economics from Kabul University. After graduating from Officer Candidate School in May 2011, she was selected for pilot training in the Afghan Air Force (AAF). She attended English language training for pilots at the Kabul English Language Training Center (KELTC) and the Shindand English Language Training Center (SELTC). Captain Rahmani completed Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) in May 2013, becoming the AAF’s first female fixed-wing pilot. She was assigned to the 358th Squadron, Kabul Air Base, Afghanistan, flying the Cessna 208 Caravan. She continued flying and training, achieving aircraft commander qualification. However, her journey to this point was not like her male counterparts. She faced mounting ethnic discrimination, sexism, and credible death threats to her and her family for her accomplishments. Despite these challenges, Captain Rahmani continued to serve, breaking barriers in the process. She balanced Islamic religious beliefs with the mission by conducting medical evacuation and human remains flights.  Her reasoning was simple; humanity served a greater purpose. Her actions brought additional attention and threats that she addressed to her leadership and was disappointed by their inaction and abandonment. She went absent without leave (AWOL) and fled Afghanistan with her family for a month. Coordinating her return with the Americans, she returned and continued flying under the watchful eye of the Air Advisors.  In March 2015, she received the International Women of Courage Award in Washington DC. In August 2015, she was selected to attend C-130 training in the United States over objections from the AAF. In February, she completed the Defense Language Institute English Learning Center and C-130  instruction at CAE’s Tampa Training Center in August 2016. She completed C-130 training in December 2016 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. However, due to the threats against her family, they fled Afghanistan and faced returning to Afghanistan with a death sentence. Captain Rahmani claimed asylum and went into hiding in the United States. She has received permanent residence status and currently lives in Florida where she is attending flight training to obtain her commercial rating. Her parents joined her in October of 2021 after fleeing Afghanistan aboard a United States Air Force C-17.

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2022 Lithograph

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