Afghan policewomen participate in a ceremony celebrating Women's Police Town. (Resolute Support Forces - Afghanistan) Image via Arab News
KABUL: To encourage more women to join the police force in this deeply conservative and male-dominated society, Afghanistan has launched a housing project for female officers.
Women’s Police Town was inaugurated on Monday in Kabul and is funded by international donors, with Canada providing $26 million for its first phase.
It includes construction of 10 apartment buildings, each with 30 units and able to house 300 policewomen and their families in Kabul, the US-led coalition and Afghan officials said.
“This is the first such project for female police in the history of Afghanistan,” Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh told Arab News on Tuesday.
“It will be expanded to other parts of the country in later stages. The purpose is to encourage women to join the police ranks.” The project is due to be completed by 2020.
The proposed complex will be constructed in four phases, and will include an elementary school, child day-care facility, medical clinic, fitness center and community center, officials said. The government will manage and operate the school and day-care facility, they added.
The coalition and foreign donors have said the project is vital for women’s participation in the police force, which has to maintain law and order and fight insurgents such as the Taliban and Daesh.
Few Afghan families allow female relatives to join the police or security forces, as it is seen as taboo and very dangerous, with female officers having been killed by suspected insurgents in the past.
Women’s Police Town will play a critical role in ongoing government efforts to tackle gender inequality and promote female participation in the security sector, the coalition said.
Canadian Ambassador Francois Rivest said: “Successful recruitment and retention of female police officers is vital for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
He added: “Canada is pleased to support the full participation of women in Afghan society through our sponsorship of the… project.”
Afghanistan’s first lady, Rula Ghani, said: “The development of a facility such as Women’s Police Town is a significant step toward encouraging more women to serve in the Afghan National Police.”
She added: “For these brave women to know that their families will be well looked after when they are serving their communities is of comfort to them.”
She said: “Women have a unique and positive approach to policing in our communities. With this approach comes increased security and safety for all of us.”
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