By Talia Ralph
Afghan policewomen march during a graduation ceremony at a police training centre in Herat on March 15, 2012. Some 270 officers including 27 females graduated following their eight-week training course at Ansar 606 police training centre in the western province of Herat. (Photo: Arif Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghanistan's female cops have been heralded as the face of women's rights at work in the country. However, they say they regularly experience sexual harassment and discrimination at the hands of their male counterparts.
In interviews with 12 policewoman,Reuters uncovered repeated incidents of abuse and harassment by the male officers, who see them as immoral for accepting work as police.
"They want it to be like the time of the Taliban," said detective Lailoma, who also asked that her family name not be used. "They tell us every day we are bad women and should not be allowed to work here."
She added that she knows several of the women under her command have been raped by male police.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai set a goal for 5,000 women to join the Afghan National Police (ANP) by the time NATO forces pull out in 2014; however, there are currently just 1,850 female police, less than two percent of the entire police force, according to Reuters.
"It's a men's country," Hawa Alam Nuristani, one of a handful of female members on the High Peace Council, the government body appointed by Mr. Karzai to reach out to the insurgency, told the Wall Street Journal. "Our only support is from the international community. What is the guarantee that we won't be faced with a similar regime as the Taliban when the Americans withdraw?"