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Afghan Women Train As Police To Take On The Taliban

February 6, 2011

In Block 08, an anonymous sand coloured building in Helmand’s Police HQ, seven veiled figures play out each afternoon their very own drama of the No 1 Afghan Ladies Police Academy.

Cat McBeath (left), in class with her women police students.

The women, aged from 18 to 33, are the first recipients of a new scholarship to train as female police officers. At present there are less than 20 serving female officers in the Afghan police in Helmand.

“I wanted to come to the course because of what it offers in education — history, geography, literacy skills, English and information technology,” said Roya, 19, who did most of her schooling as a refugee in Iran.

“Of course my family supported me when I decided to come here,” she says with a bold stare.

“I find the English a bit difficult, but really like the IT,” said Palwasha, at 18, the youngest. She is the most animated of the group, with the broad cheekbones of a Hazara, a minority from the North once persecuted by the Taliban.

Robert Fox has worked as a journalist since 1967 and is defence correspondent for the Evening Standard. Robert is also Senior Associate Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, Kings College London.

For 2 weeks in January, Robert visited Afghanistan and wrote a number of articles for the Evening Standard.

Read the rest of this fascinating story and his view of the progress being made in Afghanistan (in his other articles) by clicking here


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