Sunday, 7 February 2016

Policewomen seek to ensure justice in Afghanistan

Afghan women determined to protect their society are standing up to terrorism by joining the police and military.
Those thousands of women make "an important contribution to the prosperity and well-being of the entire society", authorities say.
Four hundred more women joined the Afghan National Police (ANP) in December after four months of training in Turkey. President Ashraf Ghani December 7 spoke at their graduation ceremony in Kabul.
"The government and the people are proud of Afghan policewomen, who defend the country and work to ensure justice," he said in his speech.
"Your efforts build a bright life for coming generations," he said.
"You are like my daughters," he added. "Providing security for you is our responsibility."
Ghani urged them to prove that Afghan women, like their brothers, are capable of defending the country.
Afghan First Lady Lora Ghani, who also spoke, told Central Asia Online she was honoured to attend the graduation ceremony.
"I wish them all the very best," she said. "I advised them to stay professional and to ... provide a good example, so that others will follow in their footsteps."
Afghan police want more women on force
"Women in the police and military were and continue to be important contributors to the prosperity and well-being of the whole society," Interior Ministers Noor-ul Haq Ulumi said in his speech to the graduates. "I believe you can do your best and that the nation will be proud of you."
Afghan women had a long and proud history of serving on the police, which the Taliban severed, Maj. Gen. Hekmat Shahi, director of gender issues at the Interior Ministry, told Central Asia Online.
Policewomen first joined the force in 1967, he said. However, the Taliban in 1996 barred women from working outside their homes, except for doctors and nurses.
"It's essential for our country to have policewomen," Shahi said. "Female body searches are compulsory at the entrance to every government building. Female security officers carry them out."
About 2,000 women serve in the ANP, Brig. Gen. Sharifa Rasooly, deputy commander of the ANP Training General Command, told Central Asia Online.
That number is less than 2% of the ANP.
"Our goal is to have 5,000 policewomen by the end of 2016," she said.
Working side by side
"Policewomen are important because they work side by side with their male colleagues," Rasooly said. "A policewoman and policeman are like two wings of a plane. If one wing is broken, the plane will crash."
"There are dangers and threats in this job," Col. Jamila Bayaaz, the recently appointed chief of Police District 1, a busy shopping area, in Kabul, told Central Asia Online.
The situation for policewomen can be perilous, Bayaaz, a mother of five, agreed. But she expressed confidence that new policewomen will bring changes to society.
A new policewoman in Kabul, Sitara, told Central Asia Online that she and her friends on the force are excited with their new duties and are ready to fight insurgents.
Rasooly said she personally recruited some women to attend the police academy.
"My hope for the future is to see women advance in different parts of society, like medicine, engineering and teaching," she said. "I also hope to see them rise in various [government] ministries."
Afghan policewomen who recently completed training in Turkey attend their graduation ceremony in Kabul in December. / Izazullah

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Central Asia Online