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KABUL, Afghanistan: The shock announcement of Afghanistan's first woman fixed-wing pilot to seek asylum in the U.S. has touched off a spirited national debate on the country's most vexing issues: insecurity, women's rights and mass exodus of young people.Niloofar Rahmani, a 25-year-old pilot lionized widely as the "Afghan Top Gun" after the 1986 Tom Cruise film on flying aces, was scheduled to return to Afghanistan last week after a 15-month training course with the U.S. air force.Rahmani became a symbol of hope for millions of Afghan women when she surfaced in the press in 2013 after becoming Afghanistan's first woman pilot since the Taliban era, dressed in tan combat boots, khaki overalls and aviator glasses.That sentiment hardly resonates with the Afghan youth, who have continued to flee the country's escalating conflict in record numbers.
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