Kabul: Afghanistan`s first female officers
trained by NATO passed out on Thursday to join the national army in
its quest to take over responsibility for the country`s
security within four years.
A massive US-funded training programme aims to boost
Afghanistan`s army and police force so that foreign forces,
currently numbering close to 150,000, can begin to withdraw
and leave security responsibility to the Afghans.
US President Barack Obama has set a deadline of mid-2011
for American troops to begin drawing down and military
commanders in Kabul have said the training programme is
pivotal to the transition.
"I always wanted to be a part of the ANA (Afghan National
Army) and am so proud to wear this uniform," said 25-year-old
Meena Sharifi, one of the 29 women in the graduation ceremony
at the Army Training Centre on the outskirts of Kabul.
"I want to defend my country against its enemies," she
The women will not be sent to the frontline of the fight
against the insurgency, which is raging at its fiercest since
the 2001 toppling of the Taliban regime, and instead will
largely do administrative work.
Building a credible Afghan army is one of NATO`s main
tasks in Afghanistan and a pillar of its exit strategy.