Friday, October 05, 2012

Afghan Women Taking On The Taliban

If you can't beat 'em, join the fight, that's what Afghan women are doing to ensure they don't lose the minuscule amount of freedoms they've gained since the Taliban were ousted. Some  are actually joining the Afghan security forces to fight the Taliban. However, there aren't many, only 27 so far in Helmand, and the bulk have to keep their vocation a secret because either family members were afraid their daughters would be killed or still others threatened to kill them. 28-year-old Corporal Bibi Gull was not deterred by the death threats, and is open about her career choice. In 2009, the courageous young woman joined the Afghan Uniformed Police force (AUP) and hasn't looked back.

"There was a lot of Taliban around and some of my family did not want me to join," she said. "Some of my relatives wanted me killed, but I arrested one of them and he was put in jail. At the beginning I was scared. Now I am not scared. I tell everyone what I am doing. I want to help women in Afghanistan."
They haven't gained much ground, since few are allowed to become detectives and they still have to wear burqas, but it's a start, and they are pushing for more acceptance and training in firearms.

According to the Guardian, one woman said the only one who knew what she did was her husband. Prior to the Taliban reign of terror, she had been studying journalism at a University in Kabul. That all changed when the Taliban took over.  She still has hopes, though.

"I would like to wear a uniform and be like other police officers. But that is not possible at the moment. My husband gave me permission to join the police, but he is the only one who knows what I am doing. I tell everyone that I am teaching at a local school.
My brother doesn't know what I am doing. But the most important thing is that my brother-in-law does not find out. He would be very angry with me. All the men in the family would be saying you should not be doing this, you should be looking after the children at home. They do not even think I should be a teacher. If they found out they would beat me."

These women are fighting for their freedom, so are willing to risk their lives not only in a dangerous job (police work) but dealing with a male population that want their women barefoot, pregnant and hidden at home, and not just the Taliban. But they better watch their backs with their police force comrades: Nato troops have learned that the hard way, with the plethora of blue on green attacks.

The Guardian has some other interesting stories of how women are tackling the Taliban. It's about the only way they will keep the gains they already have

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