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    Women in Afghan National Security Forces take center stage

    BALKH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-North partnered with the Afghan Department of Women’s Affairs held a women’s shura in Balkh province, July 11.

    The shura focused on recruitment and retention of women in the Afghan National Security Forces, a challenge which both the Afghan Ministry of Interior and ISAF leaders are working on together.

    Several influential female leaders from northern Afghanistan, including provincial and district DoWA representatives from Baghlan, Balkh, Jowzjan, Kunduz, Samagan and Sar-e-Pul provinces, attended the event. Female members of the Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Patrol and Afghan National Army were also in attendance, drawing praise from several participants for their bravery and resilience.

    “Women are so brave, so patient and so kind,” said Nadeera Ghia, the DoWA representative for Kunduz province. “They can help solve the country’s problems sooner, and in calmer ways. If you give women the chance, they can be great leaders in society. They just need time and opportunity.”

    The shura made clear there are many obstacles to overcome. Many women still find working outside the home a challenge. Afghan women manage the childcare and household responsibilities of the family, and often have difficulty traveling alone. Also, since many get married before finishing school, women have high illiteracy rates.

    The group discussed these and other problems, proposing practical solutions. Police and army compounds in many provinces, for instance, are ill equipped to handle the cultural sensitivities of a mixed working environment. The provincial representatives proposed separate changing rooms in the workplace, as well as the provision of childcare, to make it easier for women with children to work. Some women have been working in the ANSF for years without being promoted or recognized for their accomplishments. The participants suggested a committee to investigate this trend and improve the promotion and meritorious award rates among women.

    Several notable signs of progress were highlighted at the shura. To date, coalition forces have facilitated the training and education of 1,400 female police officers and 359 female soldiers throughout Afghanistan. Swedish Capt. Andreas Bransnnstrom, RC-North director of the Female Police Officer Program in Balkh province, reported his program has successfully sent out females to assist their male counterparts in searching and questioning female suspects during operational missions.

    “We have come a long way in a short period of time,” said Bransnnstrom. “We will continue to work to integrate them fully into police business.”

    Overall, the RC-North women’s shura provided a forum for Afghan women to discuss and provide input to help shape the future of women in the Afghan National Security Forces in RC-North.

    The number of Afghan female leaders attending the quarterly shuras, and their level of participation during the meetings, has grown each time the shura has been held.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.11.2012
    Date Posted: 07.16.2012 05:24
    Story ID: 91594
    Location: BALKH PROVINCE, AF 

    Web Views: 176
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN