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First female Afghan Air Force pilot has applied for asylum to the United States

The Independent logo The Independent 26/12/2016 Shehab Khan
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The first female pilot to serve in Afghanistan's air force has applied for asylum in the United States because she is "scared" for her life.

Captain Niloofar Rahmani, 25, made headlines when she completed her training in 2013, having defied her parents to join the programme in Texas.

She persisted despite receiving death threats during and after she completed her training.

But she said things were getting worse in her home country and she was left with no choice but to apply for asylum.

“I would love to fly for my country — that is what I always wanted to do. But I'm scared for my life," she told the Wall Street Journal.

If her asylum is granted, she said she will continue flying, either with the US Air Force or as a commercial pilot.

“Everything I went through, all my suffering, was because I really wanted to fly. That was my dream,” she added.

Ms Rahmani received the US State Department's International Women of Courage Award in 2015.

“Rahmani is as committed to encouraging other young women to follow in her footsteps now as she was as an 18-year-old dreaming of flight school,” US First Lady Michelle Obama said during the presentation ceremony.

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