According to United Nations, Afghanistan is one of the hardest places for women to live in and yet Afghan women are tackling it with valour by joining non-combat roles in the army. The military training academy in Kabul is dishing out competitive female recruits to serve in the Afghanistan army. The fresh class holds a batch of 150 women who feel proud to be in a position to serve the country.
However, the rising state of violence and an orthodox patriarchal society is not in favour of letting women fight for the nation. Infringement by the Taliban group and extremists are constantly making it difficult for them and trying to demolish the current political party in power which, in their view, is West-operated.
Involvement of women’s groups and international organisations are fighting the battle on behalf of Afghan women and it is their coercion that has kept the Taliban in check. Yet, the training of both men and women trainees happen in separate camps, but the officers say that the training is same in terms of physical education, firearms, tactics and medical care.
ALSO READ: India to train 100 Afghan women soldiers
“I decided to join the army to save the lives of my people and to defend ourselves,” said Sakina Jafari, 21, adding that she believed her service set an example. “This encourages other girls to join the army’s ranks,” as reported by Indian Express.
Joining the army has also helped in the literacy level of Afghan women as all the women who train at the academy are literate. After the completion of their training, they become eligible to join the department of management, human resources, logistics, radio operations, or intelligence, said Lieutenant Colonel Cobra Tanha, a 28-year military veteran.
She also mentioned how some women can also join Afghan Special Forces who help in culturally sensitive matters like night searches at homes. The UN is working hard to increase the number of women in the Afghan army and has allocated a budget of $93.5million and a team of 7,000 troops living in the country.
However, it is the native people who are not allowing women to be a part of the army. A survey by Asia Foundation came up with a research that said that 60% of Afghan people do not find it worthy of women to work in the army or police. The Afghan army has a meagre 900 women serving in the army, which is not even close to the goal of 5,000 set by the US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
Women are even found leaving the training midway as they experience rebellion from their male counterparts, relatives, friends and colleagues. There is no pay parity in the army and they are not even given any consequential work to feel important enough to be in the army.
Picture credit- Council on Foreign Relation