Women being recruited to fight Taliban suicide bombersBy IANS
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
LONDON - Afghan women are being recruited for the very first time by the country’s national police to help tackle Taliban suicide bombers, a media report said Wednesday.
Earlier, women “had only been tasked with menial backroom responsibilities”.
But, with training from the British ministry of defence and the British Army, Afghan women are now involved in the fight against one of the Taliban’s “most deadly weapons”, Sky News reported.
“Afghan cultural sensitivities forbid policemen from searching women, which can have catastrophic results if they fail to intercept female suicide bombers,” it says.
In the past two years, the Taliban has persuaded some women to conceal explosives under their burqas.
With some insurgents also disguising themselves as females to exploit the cultural loophole, policewomen in Afghanistan have been given the power to stop and search - and, where necessary, kill, it says.
At the Bost airport near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, Third Lt Nagara Abdul Nabi regularly searches men’s bags and burqa-clad women - something that has not happened until recently.
“I stopped a car at a checkpoint and a female passenger began acting suspiciously. When I began to search her, the woman struggled and bit me badly. I discovered she had explosives under her burqa. She also had two grenades and an AK-47,” she said.
Captain Farid, head of the Afghan National Police (ANP) training, said: “The Taliban is afraid of policewomen because if they have a lot of females in the force it means they can search the Taliban everywhere.”
“Some members of the Taliban have even tried to pass themselves off as females to pass through security,” he said.
Catriona McBeath, one of the British police trainers, said: “Women are essential because they can go places that men can’t go. For example, if a known Taliban runs into a compound that’s full of women, then the woman ANP can follow him in… search him and arrest him.”