Afghan warfighter reunited with mentor at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Sima Alizada, a former member of Afghanistan’s elite Female Tactical Platoon, helped to track down and capture Taliban leaders

ROANOKE, Va. – An Afghan warfighter who worked with U.S. troops to track down and capture Taliban leaders in Afghanistan is preparing to make Southwest Virginia home.

10 News was at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport on Thursday as her colleagues on the battlefield as well as members of her new community in Virginia welcomed her with open arms.

It was all to greet Sima Alizada, a former member of Afghanistan’s elite Female Tactical Platoon, as she gets ready for a new life in Blacksburg.

“It’s awesome. I am so happy that Sima is able to be here and have these opportunities,” said Becca Moss, Alizada’s mentor, and friend.

Moss drove more than eight hours from just outside of Columbus, Georgia to be in Roanoke for Alizada’s arrival. It was a moment she wouldn’t miss.

As a member of the U.S. Army Cultural Support Team, Moss mentored and trained Alizada in Afghanistan to go on special missions with Army Ranger Regiments and U.S. Special Forces.

“As a single Mom who’s raising a three-year-old son and then also who’s lost their husband during everything that is going on, while she was pregnant, it’s amazing to see where she is now and what she is able to do,” Moss said.

Alizada’s husband died in combat fighting for Afghanistan.

With support from the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, Alizada will have housing and a stipend for daily living expenses as she first gets settled in. She can also take free classes at Virginia Tech or New River Valley Community College.

“We will find out what she wants in her life and we’re going to do what we can do to support her to reach the goals that she wants for herself, for her son,” said Jennifer Pike with Blacksburg Refugee Partnership.

Alizada said she looks forward to improving her English skills and is excited about what’s next.

“I’m happy, just happy,” Alizada said.

Alizada’s resettlement in Blacksburg is supported by the PenFed Foundation, an organization that assists military service members and veterans, as well as a grant from The Secular Society.

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