A United Nations-supported training for Afghanistan’s female police personnel, who account for about one per cent of the total national police force, has empowered them in their daily work of policing in the country’s east.
“After a training provided by UNDP (UN Development Programme) and UNAMA (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan), the capacity of our female police personnel has drastically increased. Now, our policewomen are able to run their activities in a more professional way,” said the head of the gender and human rights unit of eastern Nangarhar province’s police department, Colonel Abdul Muhamad.
There are only about 40 female police personnel in the province’s 4,000-strong police force. UNDP’s police support project called ‘Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA)’ provided a training last year with the aim to equip female police officers with concepts of policing that include international human rights standard and Afghan police law. The participants also learned practical skills such as how to hold a pistol and shoot, according to UNDP officials.
The UNDP-organized training was supplemented by another round of training for the policewomen, on human rights and policing, by UNAMA.
UNDP is planning to organize a follow up training in May, when female police officers from neighbouring Kunar and Laghman provinces will also be invited.
“The practical skills are useful for them, as many are illiterate,” said the UNDP’s regional project coordinator, Naseer Ahmad Kamal. “Now they know how to face a criminal, search a client, charge a baton, and use a handcuff, pepper spray, pistol and even Kalashnikov.”
Since about 90 per cent of the female police force in Nangarhar are illiterate, UNDP trainers gave pictorial and video presentations to make sure the participants understood the lessons, according to Kamal.
As at 18 November 2013, the UNDP’s LOTFA project supported 141,660 police personnel and 4,901 Central Prison Department guards, according to the latest report of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on Afghanistan.
The country’s newly installed Interior Minister, Omer Daudzai, has pledged to increase the number of women police from about 2,000 now to 10,000 by the end of this year.
One of the policewomen in Nangarhar province, Baseera, who has been in the police for eight years and participated in last year’s UNDP-provided training, said the training was “very useful.” Prior to the training, she added, he could not use “any of the police equipment.”
“Now I apply the skills in my daily work,” said Ms. Baseera. “We are working hard to serve the people. Now we enthusiastically participate in all operations in the city, as well as in the districts, as instructed by the police department.”
UNDP in Afghanistan has organized similar training for policewomen in the northern Afghan province of Balkh and the western province of Herat.