Security

Afghan policewomen serve country with pride

By Izazullah

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First Lt. Malalay (at desk), commander of policewomen in Lashkargah, Helmand Province, meets with female colleagues in July. [Izazullah]

KABUL -- Afghan policewomen are serving their country with pride and respect and say they can do some police work off limits to men because of traditional and religious norms.

First Lt. Malalay commands policewomen in Lashkargah, Helmand Province, where she has served for 15 years.

Malalay is among 36 policewomen in Lashkargah, said Omar Zwak, spokesperson for the Helmand governor.

"All these policewomen are proud of their jobs and are doing their best to bring hope and stability to the nation," he told Salaam Times.

Serving with honour, respect

The policewomen of Lashkargah work proudly alongside their male counterparts, Malalay said.

"My job is exactly according to Islam," she told Salaam Times. "Sometimes our community and honourable people face a problem that only female police can resolve."

For instance, only policewomen may search women, she said. "And sometimes female police have to go with male police to search a suspicious house and talk to the women," she added.

"These are jobs that men cannot do in a country like Afghanistan with traditions," she said with a smile, adding that she takes pride in the work she has accomplished in 15 years.

"Afghanistan needs more and more woman police officers to uphold the culture and society of the country," Malalay said.

Policewomen protect country, feed families

Sahar, 28, has served as a policewoman for three years and is a colleague of Malalay in Helmand Province.

"I enjoy wearing the Afghan National Police (ANP) uniform and serving my honourable people in Helmand," she told Salaam Times.

"I respect the people, and people respect me, so it is something that encourages me to do my best to maintain security in my province," she said, adding that the male officers she works with are proud to serve Afghanistan alongside their female colleagues.

"Our policemen respect us and have a very respectful communication with us," she said. "It allows us to work side by side with them and serve our country."

Sahar called on all women to join the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces (ANSF) and ANP.

"Besides serving my country, I also have a salary that helps me to take care of family members," she said.

A woman who works and feeds her family is courageous, intelligent and determined, Sahar said. "It gives me honour when working to serve the country and to feed my family," she said.

Women essential in police force

Seema, 28, another female police officer in Helmand Province, has served for four years. She received training in Kabul from experienced policewomen.

"I enjoy working as a policewoman and feel proud of this job," she told Salaam Times. "We are trained and professional and know how to bring down the enemies of peace and of our country."

Helmand Police Chief Gen. Aqa Noor Kentoz praised the policewomen serving under his command. They are brave and honest, he said.

"Women are our sisters, daughters and mothers; we respect them," he told Salaam Times. "If we do not have women in our community to serve beside men, we will not improve."

It is important to include women in community policing efforts, he said, adding that officials and locals encourage policewomen as they perform their duties.

"We think that our female police are like our mothers and sisters," he said. "The work policewomen do is excellent."

Kabul resident Lailuma, 20, said she is very happy to see women serving in the ANP and other security and defence forces.

"As a woman I need female police, and ... these policewomen are doing their best to bring stability and hope to the people," she told Salaam Times.

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Defending is the responsibility of men and it is not suitable for women. Instead of participating in fighting and facing the possibility of captivity and rape, the best help that women can provide is to stay at home and take care of their house chores.

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