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Afghan Police Recognize Equal Value of Female Officers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2006 – The Afghan National Police recently took major strides toward recognizing the equal rights of men and women, as well as the important contributions made by its female officers.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Gen. Aziza Nazeri (center), the Afghan National Police''s most senior female officer, presides over the Gender Awareness Day conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 8, as Gen. Ahmad Madadzai and Jerilyn Glick Holsapple look on. Madadzai is head of the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior, and Holsapple is a special agent with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Photo by Staff Sgt. Ben Rojek
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image)

More than 40 female Afghan National Police officers met for a Gender Awareness Day conference at the Ottawa Resorts Hotel here May 8.

The conference, hosted by the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior, allowed the police officers to discuss issues such as domestic violence, gathering forensic evidence, and the difficulties of being a woman in the Afghan police force.

"We are getting a chance to share and find solutions to our problems," said Gul Jan, an Afghan police officer in Paktika province.

The problems include accommodations, promotions and getting people outside of Kabul to pay attention to their authority, Jan said. Of the 180 policewomen in the ANP, 25 percent work outside Kabul.

In order to get people to pay attention to their authority, the officers need to know what their rights are, said Gen. Aziza Nazeri, the most senior female officer in the Afghan National Police.

"Many of our female officers are not aware of their rights," Nazeri said. "But they are equal to men."

Gen. Gul Ahmad Madadzai, head of the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Interior, also talked about the equal rights of men and women, saying that discrimination against women does not stem from Islam, but from archaic traditions. He said these perceptions of women need to change.

"Men and women are like two legs of one body," Madadzai said. "With just one leg, the body cannot go anywhere."

The issues and solutions raised at the Gender Awareness Day conference were then briefed to the 31 newly appointed generals of the ANP at the Ottawa Resorts Hotel May 9. The generals will use this information to create a police force that equally recognizes the contributions of its male and female officers, officials said.

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

Click photo for screen-resolution imageGen. Aziza Nazeri discusses the Gender Awareness Day agenda with Gul Jan (left) and Wajeha, Afghan National Police officers. More than 40 female Afghan police officers met for the conference in Kabul May 8 to discuss issues such as domestic violence and gathering forensic evidence. Photo by Staff Sgt. Ben Rojek  
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