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August 1st, 2006
Flying Down to Kabul
Introduction

One day, Danish artist and pilot Simone Aaberg Kærn reads in her morning paper the story of a 16-year-old Afghan girl who dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. Flying 3,000 miles from Denmark to Kabul in her rickety canvas-covered plane, Kærn vows to find young Farial and make her airborne dream come true. After 50 hours in the air, 33 landings, encounters with astonished airfield ground staff and an illegal, unannounced entry into Afghanistan and U.S.-protected airspace, Kærn finally reaches Kabul. Once there, she dons a veil, locates Farial, and takes the astonished teenager into the air on the ride of a lifetime. But before long, the unlikely pair face cultural turbulence — and a rough landing in reality, as Kærn learns how rigidly Afghanistan’s conservative traditions govern the life of an ambitious teenage girl.

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