Women evincing keen interest in joining ANA
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghan women are evincing increasing interest in joining the country’s army and the police force, reflecting the significant progress made by them, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers on Friday.
Family pressure is the biggest obstacle to their joining the armed forces.
“Younger Afghan women are showing greater and greater interest in joining both the army and the police as they have come up through the educational system over the last 12 years,” said David Sedney, deputy assistant defense secretary for Afghan policy.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which held a hearing on protecting Afghan women, the top Pentagon official said efforts were underway to try and increase the pool that was considered for them.
Sedney said the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the police have stood up recruitment commands over the last three years. “They didn't have those before. They're in charge, so the Afghans are in charge of recruitment. We've provided training advice and assistance, and so we have advisers within those recruitment commands.”
He added the targets and goals for women’s recruitment at the enlisted and officer levels were set at the ministerial level and the recruitment command's task was to implement those.
At the same time, he noted the recruitment goals were not being met. It was hard right to recruit women into the Afghan forces, the official said. Advisers working with the Afghans say the biggest obstacle is family pressures.
Chairing the hearing, Congresswoman Martha Roby said as the US continued to work with the government of Afghanistan to determine the future, size and role of its forces, the continued promotion and protection of women’s rights must not be forgotten or pushed aside.
“Women and girls in Afghanistan have made enormous gains since the United States and its allies toppled the Taliban government. In Afghanistan today women and girls hold elected office. They are present in the military and police forces and they enjoy many personal freedoms that were suppressed during the earlier ruthless rule,” she said.
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