FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan – Members of the Bastogne Female Engagement Team, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, sat down with female members of the Afghan Uniformed Police and Afghan Border Police to develop a greater understanding of the roles women play within the AUP and ABP in Nangarhar province Jan. 19 at the ABP Zone 1 compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
“This was our first face to face meeting with the ABP/AUP officers and soldiers from their respective districts,” said Sgt. Stacy Coffield, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 1 BCT FET.
Coffield, a native of Orange County, Calif., said that her team has most recently conducted a follow-up meeting with the ABP at Torkham Gate in the Mohmand Dara district of Nangarhar, a major thoroughfare for transportation and commerce on border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Female AUP/ABP officers and soldiers serve an extremely important role for our ANSF [Afghan National Security Force] partners,” said Coffield. “It’s important that we coordinate to ensure they receive the proper training needed for female engagements, search procedures and tactical knowledge of what danger signs to look for.”
During the engagement, the FET discussed a variety of issues with the female AUP officers and ABP soldiers. These issues included equality in the workplace, safe transportation to and from work, working conditions, equipment for work, and the effect of their duty on their families.
With regard to searching other females, Coffield said, “Women are just as capable of concealing dangerous items and if the female AUP/ABP officers and soldiers do not have the proper equipment, then they cannot properly conduct their duties.”
In many cases, due to insurgent activity, many female AUP/ABP choose not to wear their uniforms to work. This fear permeates throughout the lives of many female AUP/ABP.
“We have found that some females in the ANSF are reluctant to even tell their own family members due to the fear of them or their families being targeted,” said Coffield.
“This coordination and dialogue is important in order to get a better understanding and knowledge of the roles of females within Afghan security forces,” said Coffield.
Currently, the ANSF has more than 3,000 positions specifically designated for women. They include positions for enlisted members, noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians that vary in responsibility from the junior enlisted soldier to the commanding officer of some units.
The FET will continue to assist ANSF soldiers and leaders find or create sustainable training programs that enhance their ability to provide a safe and secure Afghanistan.