17 July 2011

Afghanistan Blazing a Trail for Female Muslims

Afghanistan is training women as military pilots in the US.

For women in Afghanistan, said Masooma Hussaini, it's not like "it was in Taliban times." Her sisters are in school, women work in offices and, by next year, Hussaini and three other young women could be among their country's first females piloting military helicopters.
Their training in the U.S. is significant. The Afghan military has a small but growing female rank, yet the skies are almost an exclusive province for men, except for one Afghan woman trained in the Soviet era.
Afghanistan remains a male-dominated culture — Afghan President Harmid Karzai spoke out as recently as last fall about women in his country still being oppressed. Hussaini, a second lieutenant, acknowledges that some Afghan men think "it's not good" that women are breaking new ground in the military, but she and her colleagues said Wednesday that they weren't joining the Afghan Air Force for themselves.
"We're going to open the door for ladies in Afghanistan," second Lt. Sourya Saleh said. "It's a big deal for us to open this door for the others. That these other ladies who have the dream and think they can't do it, we want to show them."
The four women, all in their 20s, arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio last week to continue their training. They'll stay in Texas until they master English — the international language for aviation — and are scheduled to transfer to Alabama early next year for actual hands-on piloting.
By September 2012, the women could have their wings.

By: Brant

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