Women in uniform: a first for Afghanistan (from Return To Hope documentary)

Women in uniform: a first for Afghanistan (from Return To Hope documentary)


If we get involved in a country, in any country,
in this case now Afghanistan, you have to understand society as a whole, in order to
have a better impact. And if the gender dimension is neglected, then you probably will also
have difficulties in reaching and making the changes you wish to do.
Fifty per cent of people are women, and they play different roles, particular in a country
like Afghanistan, strongly Islamic country. It is important to understand how you affect
50 per cent of the population. When Sweden works on gender issues, women’s
issues, it has been very important to work through local national organisations. So not
coming only just with your sort of Swedish concept and thinking that you can impose that,
be it in Afghanistan or any other country And you work through those local organisations.
They will be the best ones to know how far you can go, what is possible, what’s not possible,
or how to adapt a more value-based corporation in that specific framework.
For sure, here, where you have still security as one of the major issues, I would say, participation
of women in the police and military is really important. Maybe in police even it is more
visible every day because you have women who are female searchers, they are prosecuting
and actually working on reporting on crimes and violence against women every day, which
is still a big issue in this country. Well, currently they have around 2000 women
in the police and around 800 women in the military, meaning in the army and air force.
If you look, this is not a big number compared to the overall strength, force strength, in
this country. But Afghan government put a very ambitious goal, I would say, in their
strategic documents that they will have ten percent of women in their security forces.
Ten percent is the goal they put in their strategies and plans and policies. As I said,
it is a long-term goal, ten years. Is it going to be achieved in ten years or maybe it will
take 15 years? I don’t know that now. But, as I said, if we put proper foundations, help
them and support them in training and recruitment, especially in recruitment campaigns and raising
awareness that this is a respectable and honourable job to do, I think they can make it.
The most important counterpart for ISAF here are United Nations, UNAMA mission with all
of their other small organisations like UN Women, UNDP… and EUPOL, of course, with
a mandate of training and educating police. And ISAF is the only one who is actually working
with the military. The whole point of us being here at ANAOA
is to encourage the development and support of the women in the ANA and the defence forces
in general. We prepare them in this academy to be in the
field and be the same equal as men do… as men do, like they can run, they can teach,
they can fire, they can go through any difficult situation as men go through. And we are preparing
them such as men get training in this academy. We’ve seen them become more confident. They
are really keen to actually do the lessons with the men, so that they are getting taught
the exact same thing. I think they’ve seen a lot of segregation and so they are enjoying
working with the men and learning the same as they do.
We need them actually. We need them and their country needs them.

One Reply to “Women in uniform: a first for Afghanistan (from Return To Hope documentary)”

  1. It"s awesome to see NATO playing a huge role in gender equality in places like Afghanistan, no doubt our (NATO) presence in that region is very effective in shaping modern ideologies. 

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