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Mohadese Mirzaee, Afghanistan’s first female pilot: ‘If I can fly a plane, I can do everything’

On February 24 of this year, Mohadese Mirzaee made history. As First Officer, she was a member of Kam Air’s first all-female flight. Captain, hostesses … they all posed happily that day in a country where after 20 years of the departure of the Taliban, women were beginning to recover their spaces. But the Taliban returned and Mohadese stayed on land and outside his country.

Interviewed this week by The Guardian it was clear. He has no intention of leaving aviation. “If I can take a plane to the sky, I can do anything,” he says, but he knows that he cannot return to his country.

Mohadese Mirzaee is Afghanistan’s first commercial air pilot. Now is a refugee in Bulgaria, determined to fly.

Mohadese Mirzaee, in the cockpit of his plane. Photo: Courtesy

He has his account on Facebook and Instagram where he poses in a uniform in command of a commercial plane. Uniform, pilot stripes, nails neatly done and painted yellow. Pose on the airstrip. She poses with her fellow crew members. But they are memories.

Now he spends his days in a small department of Bulgaria. Three months ago he left the wings that were the dream of life.

With 23 years, Afghanistan’s first pilot, without time to pack, had to escape.

“Today, I don’t know where to go, but I’m not giving up. I started applying for pilot jobs anywhere because I know I need to fly again,” he tells the Guardian by phone from Sofia.

The day she left Afghanistan, it was another day for her at work. He said goodbye to his mother and went to the airport to pilot the regular flight Kabul-IstanbulBut the Taliban took over the Afghan capital, taking everyone by surprise.

Kam Air female crew.  Photo: Facebook Mohadese Mirzaee

Kam Air female crew. Photo: Facebook Mohadese Mirzaee

His flight to Istanbul never left. Instead she was taken to another as a passenger to Kiev, Ukraine. It was night. A roller coaster of emotions at impossible speeds. “I couldn’t believe that Kabul had fallen,” he confesses.

When he saw that the Taliban established a men’s government and that hundreds of women were fired from their jobs, Mirzaee understood that they had robbed him of his hopes for the future.

Cashier and barista

“Afghan women have done it in an amazing way over the past decades. We have taken advantage of all the opportunities that have been offered to us. We fought for our rights and made great achievements. I was hoping a window had been opened. I was approached by many young women who also dreamed of being a pilot, ”he says.

Becoming a pilot in Afghanistan was not an easy task. As a student in Canada, he first thought about flying. She worked as a cashier and barista raising money for her flying classes. Her instructor told her one day that she was ready. And then he thought, “If I can get a plane to the sky, I can do anything.”

Mohadese Mirzaee, in command.  Photo: Courtesy

Mohadese Mirzaee, in command. Photo: Courtesy

Back in Afghanistan, no one was willing to hire her. Until Kam Air gave him a chance. “I took it very seriously,” he says. And she became the first commercial pilot in September 2020, flying at Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India.

A visa to enter Bulgaria opened the doors of exile for him. They advised him to seek asylum. His mother and sisters also fled. They flew to Albania the same day that a bomb tore open the entrance to the Kabul airport, where hundreds of people were waiting to flee.

“When I was studying, my mother always told me to go back to Afghanistan and work for my country. I shared his conviction. But today, although I would like to go back, I cannot. There is no room for women like me in Afghanistan anymore. I lost my job, my house, my team, everything. “

Clarín newsroom with information from The Guardian and



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