News: Romanian FET hosts event for International Women's Day
Story by Maj. Joel Anderson
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The first female engagement team (FET) of the Romanian Army to ever operate in support of Romanian Special Operation Forces (SOF) recently arrived in eastern Afghanistan and has been validated for operational readiness.
Due to the status of women in Afghanistan, male soldiers are prohibited from interacting with them, even to ask questions or exchange greetings. So, the military did what they have always done, they adapted. Female soldiers were pulled from other duties and pressed into service to interface with the other 50% of the population.
Eventually, the concept was formalized into Female Engagement Teams (FETs). Now, female soldiers who volunteer, are given additional cultural and language training and tasked with specific missions that involve communicating with Afghan women. The FET concept has been successfully employed in Afghanistan for a few years now.
However, this group of recently arrived Romanian FET soldiers is blazing new trails.
"We work alongside to support our SOF Brigade back in Romania and while deployed," 1st Lt. Fondos explained recently.
“So, when we were given a chance to deploy with them, the members of my team and I were eager to volunteer,” she said.
The Romanian FET operate from their (Special Operations) Task Group or TG, return to its headquarters in Logar province, Afghanistan, after most missions to conduct reset training to give them a break from their respective units and share lessons learned before returning to their assigned districts.
International Women’s Day
Friday, March 8, was International Women’s Day and it was observed throughout Afghanistan with the help of coalition force and ANSF alike.
At FOB Shank, it offered the Romanian FET a great initial opportunity to apply its training.
“We had a Social planned for the DFAC and there were refreshments and it gave all of us a good chance to meet some of the local Afghan women who work here on the FOB”, said Fondos.
In addition to the local Afghan women, there were also attendees from the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and U.S. residents of FOB Shank.
Fondos said the FET members true, primary mission will be to talk to the local, Afghan women and see what their needs are. They provide this information back to their units to, help them see the whole picture. They will also be working to give local women a voice and impress upon them they can be leaders in their communities.
“We all really enjoy being a part of the FET and I am proud of everything that my girls are doing,” Fondos said.