Many families in this conservative society are not keen to have women patrolling the streets or facing the security risks that accompany police work, particularly as Afghan National Police forces are being targeted by anti-government forces. This is especially true in the southern and eastern regions of the country, where the Taliban is most active and even male police officers face significant safety threats.
Those women who do sign up for police training often wear their regular clothes when they leave their homes, only changing into their police uniforms once they reach the safety of their classroom. And nearly all of the students in the training course have hidden their new line of work from at least some of their male relatives…
Female police officers can investigate people and places no man could in conservative Afghanistan. Last June, male suicide bombers toting rocket grenade launchers dressed as women in burqas during a national reconciliation conference in Kabul. But during this year’s event, women police patrolled roads and conducted searches.
Women are also needed for house-to-house searches—since men cannot enter women’s rooms—and for staffing family response units that address issues such as domestic violence.