Shukoor Ullah, 23, is one of 16 prospective civilian air traffic controllers in Afghanistan, the first ones after many years of war and conflict. He was selected from 240 applicants and is now proud to be at the service of Afghanistan‘s civil aviation industry. GIZ is supporting the training of civilian air traffic controllers and the establishment of a civilian aviation safety authority on behalf of the German Foreign Office.
It means a lot to me. Afghanistan‘s aviation sector is virtually inexistent and the pilots have left the country because of the constant state of war. Our country needs air traffic controllers like me. I always wanted to become a pilot but it seemed impossible in my country. When I finished school, I had no idea what to do, I was disoriented. The training changed everything in my life, my attitude, my way of learning. This is the closest I could get to all I’ve been dreaming about.
We started with aviation English. We continued with aviation law, phraseology, meteorology and the international aviation convention. Then we were sent to India for a four-month simulator training – that was great. Right now we are preparing for an on-the-job training in Bangladesh.
We get a small monthly salary so we can concentrate on the lessons and don‘t need to work on the side.
That was the plan from the beginning, that we should take over the Mazar airport tower as licensed air traffic controllers when the ISAF forces leave. So we will be assigned to my hometown of Mazār-i Sharif, which I think is good. I prefer to stay near my family – my two brothers, six sisters and my parents.
To me, Afghanistan is the most beautiful country in the world. I love it. The people are so kind and gentle, and they are anything but terrorists.