Thursday, September 16, 2021

Niloofar Rahmani – “Don’t Believe The Taliban”

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Esther Jacqueline
Esther Jacqueline Alabi is a writer, blogger and advocate. Her writing is majorly influenced by her passion for feminism and gender equality.
For leisure, Jacqueline writes on her blog and watches romcoms.

Niloofar Rahmani, the first female air force pilot in Afghanistan, has warned international communities not to believe the Taliban’s lies about protecting and respecting women’s rights.

Rahmani believes the Taliban “will hurt women the most,” as she explains during an interview with Fox13 News. She said,

“Unfortunately, my family is still there. And since I have heard what happened in Afghanistan, I cannot sleep, I cannot get my mind together, I am so in fear for their security. And, of course, it hasn’t been only about me.” 

Rahmani believes her family is in danger as they have been targeted for supporting her career as a pilot. After the Taliban resurfaced and took over the administration in Afghanistan, many were afraid of what the extremist group could become. However, women and girls continue to be the most targeted, especially with the Taliban’s history of disrespecting and infringing the rights of women in their first administration. 

The Taliban held a press conference to lie to the public, claiming the group will now respect the rights of women. Barely hours after that conference, a woman was killed for going out in the public without her burqa. 

Rahmani became popular after she became the country’s first female air force pilot after the Taliban’s first reign ended. She left for India in 2015 and was granted asylum by the US in 2018. However, her parents and sister are still residents of Kabul. 

Rahmani also claims the Taliban has been sending her death threats “since 2013.” “The world will be the witness of the Taliban. They are going to stone a woman in a Kabul stadium again for nothing,” she added. 

Rahmani narrated her experience working in Afghanistan, said she had to keep disguising to get to work and her brother got shot twice just because of it. 

“The Taliban started threatening me and my family by saying I’m not a good Muslim woman, I have abandoned my Muslim culture and I deserve to be honour-killed,” she said

“They said my family brought shame to them. We would relocate two, sometimes three times per month. The government never supported me in this. The Air Force told me they never forced me to be there, and I could leave … if I wanted.”

When Rahmani watched the video of people trying to escape Afghanistan through the Kabul airport, she was distraught. “No human being would do that unless they thought it was worth risking their life over being in Afghanistan,” she said. “Because most of them lived under the Taliban regime beforehand. They are so afraid, that they’re ready to die just hanging on the aeroplane instead of living under that government.”

Rahmani believes women are at most risk under the government of the Taliban.

“This is a war against women, not against men,” she says.

Read Also: Taliban’s New Rules on Women in Afghanistan

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