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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs