There had been rumours about two women Helicopter pilots since I flew
into Herat. This was 3 months after I had left Denmark in a vintage two
sits aeroplane to find a young afghan girl, farial, who wished to become
a fighter pilot. She talked to me from the pages on a Danish newspaper
in the spring of 2002.
I had set off exhited to meet this brave young
afghan girl who dared such a utopian and bold vision for the future. I
wanted to give her the possibility to try to fly my aircraft and give
her a chance to link up to the Sisterhood of the skies that I had meet
through my art projects. That is of course if she wished- or was able
to do so.
Back then, I believe, my vision was that she would be the first afghan
girl after Taliban to take control over an aircraft above Kabul.
A great aero feminist statement!
Impossible! A former Mig Pilot now working as office assistant in a NGO
was sceptical to the idea of farial wanting to become a fighter pilot.
As far as he knew Afghanistan had no female fighter pilots. Actually he
knew only of two female pilots. Two sisters who flew helicopters, he went
to aviation school with them back in the 80ties.
BANG! Female afghan helicopter pilots! My picture of suppressed afghan
women was shaken. I just could not believe it.
The mountains was too high for my aircraft. Regardless I crossed the Hindukush
in my Surge for farial and the Helicopter pilots.
Safe in Kabul. I visited the Afghan Air Force once a day for a month starting
to believe they where just a post Soviet propaganda stunt.
Then one day there they where! I meet Liloma and Latifa the 26th of December
2002. They had just regained flying status after returning back to Kabul
Sure enough Liloma and Latifa where educated in Kabul in the early 80ties.
When Taliban took power all women were forbidden to work. Liloma and Latifa
left Kabul and headed for hometown Mazar Sharif. Their father was
one of Warlord Dostums generals and for a while they flew against
Taliban for the Northern Alliance under the command of Dostum. When the
ground became too hot the sisters took refugee in Iran.
They meet Farial and told her about the possibilities and tuff struggle
to become a pilot. They inspired her as so many young girls where ever
they flew. More important they helped Farial and me to get permissions
We all wanted to fly as much as possible. Liloma and latifa saw the chance
of working. I needed air-to-air shots of Farial and me in the air. They
needed flying hours. Liloma and Latifa worked the generals and Farial
was put in the role of the translator. It was rather touching to see her
talk her case for Defence minister Fahim.
"Sky Sisters" in action.
Farial was not the first girl to fly after Taliban. This was much better
and we all got to fly!
Afghanistan is still a very tuff environment for women who want education
and work. 600 afghan girl schools were burned down alone in 2003. As a
girl you got to be made out of The Right Stuff in order to
Liloma and latifa are the right stuff and no one make trouble with them.
Who would possible want to get in trouble with the whole Afghan Air Force
including brutal warlords as Dostum and Fahim? Afghanistan is all about
power and connection. Alone you are dead.
Simone Aberg Kærn 2003
The Sisters from Mazar - Flower , C-Print photo Simone Aaberg Kærn
Sisters from Mazar-i- Sharif
Sisters from Mazar-i- Sharif 2003 2004
They are cornels in the Afghan Air Force, they are helicopter pilots and
they are sisters from Mazar-i- Sharif in Afghanistan.
They are for real the Sisters in the Sky.