Burqa-clad women officers ready to join Afghan anti-riot police

Kabul, Nov 1 (EFE).- A group of women in burqas, equipped with crash helmets, riot shields, and batons, stands ready to join the Afghan anti-riot police force, notwithstanding the Islamist Taliban regime’s alleged curbs on females.

The interior ministry aired a video of police training on Monday, showing female officers wearing head-to-toe black veils lined up in an open group, flashing anti-riot gear and a Taliban flag.

“We have trained some 100 female officers in various provinces for different activities, including riot control,” a statement from the de facto Taliban government said Tuesday.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told EFE that the government trained 1,000 recruits from different provinces. Some 100 are women officers.

The women officers would join anti-riot forces when needed, Ahmadi said, adding it was the beginning of a process that would continue.

Imran, a trained officer, said they were ready 24 hours to prevent demonstrations.

In the video released by the Taliban, Khadija noted that she had “learned a lot about riots” during the training.

Another policewoman, Zahra, urged female ex-officers to return to the force.

“My request to the former policewomen is to re-join their job and serve their country and people. There is no pressure or threat.”

Abdul Nafi Tekor, another interior ministry spokesperson, told EFE that Afghanistan “urgently” needed more female police officers.

Tekor said female officers served various ministry departments, but their number was inadequate.

“We are trying to appoint trained professionals and well-experienced former female police officers,” Tekor said.

Women have regularly protested in various parts of the country against the Taliban, who have snatched their labor and educational rights.

The United Nations and global rights groups have, over the 14 months of the Taliban rule, flagged rights violations against women and girls in Afghanistan since the Islamists entered the capital Kabul and took control of the country on Aug.15 last year.

The Taliban have allegedly disallowed women to protest as they raise their voices to seek their rights, including the right to work and the right to education.

Just on Monday, a group of former female workers protested in the Afghan capital, seeking their right to livelihood.

Flashing their educational degree certificates, the former government employees gathered inside a public park in the Shar-e-Naw neighborhood of Kabul.

However, the protesters alleged that the Taliban did not allow the women to demonstrate, citing a lack of police permission to protest.

Despite initial promises that women would be allowed to exercise their rights under the Sharia law, the Taliban excluded women and girls from public life, including government offices.

Women hold no cabinet positions in the de facto Taliban government.

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