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Young Pakistani Woman Enlists in the Military to Avoid Arranged Marriage

A courageous young Pakistani woman defies cultural norms, escaping an arranged marriage by joining the military. Follow her inspiring journey as she pursues her dreams and breaks free from societal expectations.

Young Pakistani Woman Enlists in the Military to Avoid Arranged Marriage

At just 19 years old, Hamna Zafar, who comes from Pakistan and lives in Maryland, bravely chose to follow her dreams in the United States Air Force, even though it was against what her culture expected.

Pakistani Girl Joins The Army to Escape Arranged Marriage
 Now, as a young Airman 1st Class in the 377th Security Forces Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, she managed to avoid an arranged marriage with her cousin in Pakistan. Instead, she decided to pursue what she called the “American dream.”

Pakistani Girl Joins The Army to Escape Arranged Marriage

In 2019, during a family trip to Pakistan, Hamna was surprised to find out it was her engagement ceremony, arranged by her parents. Faced with the possibility of marrying her cousin, she took control of her life. She bravely escaped and sought help from a Navy recruiter. Eventually, she found support from Claudia Barrera, a friend’s family who became like a mom to her.

With Barrera’s encouragement, Hamna completed her associate degree, setting the stage for a new chapter in her life.

Pakistani Girl Joins The Army to Escape Arranged Marriage

In 2022, Hamna joined the US Air Force as a Security Defender. Her duties involve patrolling the base, controlling access, and monitoring alarms at Kirtland Air Force Base. The transition wasn’t easy, as she faced a cultural shock during training, adjusting to a world very different from what she knew. Despite the challenges, Hamna stresses the importance of breaking free from society’s expectations. Her determination and commitment to her role in the Air Force shine through.

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However, the joy of her achievements is mixed with sadness. Hamna reveals that her attempts to contact her family have been unanswered, especially during important moments like her graduation from basic training.

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