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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid