After four months of training, close to 200 Afghan females have graduated from the International Police Training Academy in Sivas, Turkey as the newest Afghan National Police (ANP) recruits.
The class is only the second group of Afghan females to graduate from the academy and this brings the total number of females in the ANP to over 3000.
Australian Army Colonel (COL) Amanda Fielding attended the event as the Gender Advisor to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and said it was a significant day for the progress of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
“It’s really motivating to see these women march out today and it’s just the beginning of what’s to come for women participating in the security force in Afghanistan and it’s about women protecting women,” COL Fielding said.
“It highlights an incredible amount of progress for the integration and participation of women within the security forces in Afghanistan and we have a lot more women who are looking to join the security forces in the near future.”
With just a few days until International Women’s Day, and acknowledging the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security – the graduation is considered a good opportunity for discussing future improvements.
“The UN Security Resolution is really important because it talks about the empowerment of women and their participation in society,” COL Fielding said.
“We know for a fact that the more women that you have within security forces, in particular within policing, the more secure society can be and that women are able to protect other women against gender based violence.”
Senior Afghan officials from the Ministry of Interior also attended the event, with Director of the Gender and Human Rights Department, Brigadier Hekmat Shahi addressing the class.
“In the last ten years we have had great achievements in the field of female Afghan Police,” she said.
“With the graduation of nearly 200 female police candidates today, we now have overall a total of 3000 female candidates in the ANP.
“They will now work in different fields, especially airports since they know computers very well and we are going to assign them somewhere that has a high need of the computer use which is going to hold real advantages for us.”
The International Police Training Centre is funded under NATO and the UN Development Programme, with Japan providing a significant contribution to the project.
The academy has seen over 2200 Afghan National Police graduates since 2011 and there are currently over 300 new female recruits preparing to start a new course in about a months time.
“Today is a significant step forward for the NATO mission in Afghanistan,” said COL Fielding.
“We’ve transitioned from ISAF to Resolute Support which is our train, advise, assist mission, and it really demonstrates that the Afghans are leading the way.
“In this case Afghan women are advocating for Afghan women and leading their own progress.”