News / Asia

Kandahar's Female Police Squad Faces Plethora of Challenges

Members of Kandahar's female police squad
Members of Kandahar's female police squad
Bethany Matta

The all-female police squad in Kandahar has one of the most dangerous jobs in Afghanistan. The city has long been at the heart of the country's southern insurgency.

At the end of a long corridor, behind a slightly cracked door, sit most of Kandahar's 15-member female police squad.  The room smells of cigarette smoke and onions stewing in a small pressure cooker on the floor.  The women drink tea, talk, smoke and occasionally nod-off.  Different colored burqas are draped in one corner of the room, purses are scattered about, and a young girl who has recently run away from home cowers in the corner.

Parwana Farhadi
Parwana Farhadi

Parwana Farhadi, head of Kandahar's women police squad, sits at a desk opposite the door at the far end of the room.  Farhadi, a mother of two, has been working in the squad for eight years.

She says she is the head of her family and has to bear all the family responsibilities.  She says her police work is her "destiny." But she also says if anyone has a problem with her working, then they can provide for her family and she will quit.

Three years ago Malalai Kakar, Afghanistan's most senior woman officer, was sitting exactly where Parwana is today.  As she left for work early one morning, Taliban militants shot her in the head, killing her and leaving her son seriously wounded.

Three female officers have lost their lives in the police headquarters and several others have also been killed in offices around the city . Parwana says as many as seven females working for the government have been killed so far, but she is not backing down.  

She says she is not scared by her job.  She says she is fulfilling an important role, because women should only be searched by females.

The need for female officers has increased in the past year, after insurgents started dressing as women in ambush operations. The attacks include one on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and several others where bombers, wearing burqas, slip past checkpoints, smuggling in weapons to carry out assaults.

In Kandahar, women police say that, compared to their male counterparts, they face greater risk. 

Nooria Noori, a criminal officer, says her job is "more insecure" than the work being done by men.  She says women in Afghanistan face more threats from the Taliban than compared to men.

Many of the other women chime in, saying they need more protection.  The women say their houses are located in insecure areas in the city and they are not given transportation to and from work.  Several of the women tell of incidents of people being killed in front of their homes.  They say this creates a feeling of terror.

Officer Muska Hamidi interrupts by saying that the women officers face other problems that men, in the same positions, do not.

She says the women officers should be able to drive vehicles.  She says that now, only men are trained.

The female police force is tasked with many of the same missions of their male counterparts. They search homes, detain and arrest females accused of crimes. They say they only carry a pistol and the newer officers carry no weapons at all. Officer Pashtana Muhibi says the risks are very real, and then recalls an operation she went on.

She says she was patrolling with a soldier when they spotted a tunnel in the house.  Although she volunteered to enter the tunnel first, the soldier took the job.  As soon as he entered the tunnel, the Taliban opened fire.  Two soldiers were killed.

Despite the dangers from militants, police squad head Parwana say she is still happy with the job, because it provides much-needed support for her family in a country where millions of people are unemployed.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid