|History and Biodata
Mrs. Cpt Sofia Feroze was born 1990 in Afghanistan. Ferozi’s family fled from their home in Kabul in the 1990s and took refuge in Pakistan, returning only after the fall of the Taliban. In high school in post-Taliban Afghanistan, Ferozi saw a TV commercial urging women to join the military. So after graduation she enrolled in the military academy, studying to become a communication officer. Then it was announced at the academy that the air force was looking for women to become pilots.
Ferozi and 12 other women applied, and she was the only one who passed the tests to enter training.
While she was training at an airfield in the western province of Herat, she first met Capt. Mohammad Jawad Najafi, the pilot who would later become her husband. They married nearly two years ago, and he has since backed her ambitions. She graduated from training in 2015. She gave birth to their first child, daughter Nergis, now nearly 8 months old, and is back flying missions.
Ferozi is one of only two female pilots in the Afghan air force, but five other women are currently going through training.
She speaks Pashtu and English.
There are around 1,800 women serving in Afghanistan's 195,000-member military, according to Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, deputy Defense Ministry spokesman. The military, which is heavily backed by the U.S. and NATO, is working to bring the number up to 10 percent of its ranks over the next seven years, he said. Afghanistan's small air force - just over 100 aircraft - received little attention for years, but in 2015 NATO and the U.S. began focusing on building it up with increased training and equipment. The force has attack helicopters and light attack planes that have been flying combat missions this year, though NATO militaries carry out the vast majority of strikes in the fight against insurgents. The other major role for the air force is in emergency humanitarian missions, helping those hit by flooding, avalanches, landslides or other disasters.