The killing of a NATO advisor in Afghanistan by a uniformed policewoman, for reasons that remain unclear, sets a deadly precedent. Looking after the country will be the Afghan’s job come 2014.
Women have only been allowed to serve in the police since 2010. The main training camp is in Kabul.
“Since I joined the police force I have received anonymous phonecalls. They ask me why I joined the police and threaten me but I am not scared of these threats. i am proud to be a policewoman and to serve my country alongside my brothers,” says one recruit.
Women officers are vital for female body searches, because men are not allowed to touch women, or enter any parts of a home deemed off limits to men.
“Afghanistan is a traditional country. My message to our nation is that this is the time to give opportunitites to women to join the police and give the women freedom in order that they can learn and serve the country,” says Colonel Mir Ahmad Shah.
President Hamid Karzai has announced that by the end of 2014 5000 women will have joined the national police force. Recruitment is being speeded up to fill the gap when Western forces pull out, but some fear this is weakening the quality and loyalty of recruits.