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Flying Afghan women – a double-edged sword?


Summary of story from Reuters, July 13, 2011

Four Afghan women, the first women to qualify as pilots in the Afghan Army, have arrived for training in the USA.

“We are going to open the door for other ladies in Afghanistan,” Second Lieutenant Sourya Saleh told reporters at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

“It is a big deal for us, to open this door for others. Other ladies who feel that they can’t do it, we want to show them.”

Colonel Eric Axelbank, Commander of the 37th Training Wing, which oversees US Air Force basic training at Lackland, said: “This is a huge step, having female officers who will become pilots in a traditionally male dominated field.”

Since the Taliban government was toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001, women in Afghanistan have won back basic rights in education, voting and work, which the Taliban considered un-Islamic.

But women face an uncertain future as Afghan foreign leaders have embraced the idea of seeking a negotiated end to ten years of war, through talks with the Taliban.

Some analysts warn that could mean a step back for women’s rights.

WVoN comment: I wanted to fly fast planes when I was young. Zoom up in blue skies, make big looping circles. Oh, what fun.

But then I realised the only really powerful planes I could have ever gotten my sticky mitts on were designed and used for killing people and I would have to drop bombs or push buttons and fire bullets. I didn’t think that really a worthwhile ambition.

So I gave up the zooming flying idea.

We posted a story recently about the Royal Navy letting women serve on submarines.

Quite apart from the grammatical issue of whether they would be in or on them, that story, like this one, begs the question as to why women – or men – want to kill.

And have they considered that as long as they want to kill, people will want to – or indeed think they have to – kill…

I suppose not.

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