Afghan government officials on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of female cadets to the Kabul police academy, reported the Associated Press. Women officersÑwho comprise 600 of the capital’s current 8,000-strong forceÑwere last trained in 1992 before the civil war.
Come March 2003, over 60 women will graduate from a half-year-long training program and join Kabul’s police force, working at checkpoints, the airport, in jailhouses, and on criminal investigations throughout the city, interior ministry spokesperson Alishah Paktiawal told AP. Interior Minister Mohammed Wardak welcomes the change: “We need more policewomen, and we’re asking more to come… Eventually we want 50 percent of our police forces staffed by women,” he said. Eventually, Wardak anticipates that female officers will be deployed beyond Kabul as well.
Security remains a key concern in Afghanistan. In the last year, attacks against US and its allied forces have grown increasingly frequent, with nearly 55 incidents in the last month alone, reported the Washington Post. In 2002, at least 12 girls’ schools also were subject to bombings, rocket attacks, and other violent attacks.
The Feminist Majority and others have questioned why the US has continued to withhold support for expanding international peacekeeping troops beyond and within Kabul, which many believe would be the most effective strategy for immediately improving security. TAKE ACTION Urge Congress to Appropriate Funds for Expanded Peace Troops, Women’s Programs and Reconstruction in Afghanistan