The Afghan Policewomen Taking on the Taliban

September 3, 2018

March 17, 2014: The face of the Afghan National Police (ANP) is changing. More and more women are being recruited to take on the fight against insurgents when NATO forces withdraw in December this year. Their brief is to do the jobs that men can't – in the segregated, strictly religious world of Afghanistan, women can be searched only by women. The Taliban has exploited this in a string of attacks in which men have dressed as women to conceal weapons or to gain entry.

Violent attacks are now so regular in Afghanistan that people have come to think of them as normal. In a single day in September, for example, 35 people were killed (soldiers, police and civilians), 41 were wounded and six were kidnapped, according to the National Police Coordination Centre, the unit in the Afghan Ministry of Interior that monitors and collates public incidents and police operations across Afghanistan.

In response the Afghan government has been building up its domestic force. With international assistance the Afghan army and police have expanded to 352,000 in the past few years.Women are now encouraged to join the police, with advertisements on radio and television. Numbers have risen. But there are still only 1,700 policewomen, one per cent of the ANP.

Read the full article: The Afghan Policewomen Taking on the Taliban (

Please see also this related 2013 report from Oxfam: Women and the Afghan Police (

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