More women join police forces in Afghanistan

Women have shown increasing interest in joining the police in the western province of Herat.

Kabul: Despite traditional barriers in war-torn Afghanistan, more and more women are now joining the police in a bid to secure their country`s future.

"I joined the Afghan National Police (ANP) to defend my country. I want to help my war-weary people. They have been suffering from war and conflicts over the past three decades. I want to serve them by providing a peaceful environment," policewoman Karima Sabery told Xinhua.

Women have shown increasing interest in joining the police in the western province of Herat.

Officials in Herat said there was an increase in the number of female trainees enrolled in the provincial police training centre.

"Two years ago, only three women enrolled in the police training centre. But up to now, 300 women have finished training and joined the police force in Herat and several dozens are receiving training here at the moment," said Colonel Mohammad Ibrahim, commander of the centre.

"It is the obligation of Afghans to defend their country. We must not rely on foreign forces to be responsible for our security. The foreigners do not need to provide security in Afghanistan anymore. Now we are strong. Our army and police are entirely ready. The foreigners can go now," Sabery said.

Government forces took the leading role in security operations from US and NATO-led forces on June 18.

Afghan security forces will take over full responsibility for defending their own country when foreign combat troops leave by the end of 2014.

Ibrahim said the policewomen underwent a six-week training to learn use of equipment, weaponry and self-defence as well as Afghan laws.

Classes for female police are separate from males in the training centre situated 640 km west of the capital Kabul.

"Serving the nation is not only the job of men. It is also our obligations to serve out country. We are determined to do so," said Zahra Mortazaie, another female trainee.

Although women`s rights have considerably improved in Afghanistan over the past decade, they still have a long way to go to achieve equality with men as the rate of literacy among women remains much lower than men.

"The policewomen are given privileges, they are not on duty overnight, do not take part in police operations except inspection and detention of women suspects. Other privileges are that policewomen can select which section in the police force they want to serve in and, they are never deployed to police activities outside their duty stations," Ibrahim said.

However, policewomen in the predominantly traditional Afghan society are still facing threats.

Militants shot dead a policewoman Farmina while she was travelling with her husband and children July 21 in Mohmad Dara district of eastern Nangarhar province.

The obvious target of the attack was Farmina since no other member of her family was injured in the shooting.

"Misconception and objection of family members to our work in the police force have always been troublesome for some of us," said Mortazaie.

"But we want to prove that we can work as good as policemen," she said.