by Abdul Haleem
SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- In the insurgency-plagued and conservative Afghanistan society women rarely serve in police uniform, but Shafiqa Shirzad has dared to join the police force to serve the people in her home province, the relatively troubled Jawzjan.
"The love for the country and love for police uniform has inspired me to join police rank and serve our people," Shafiqa told Xinhua recently.
Serving in police force over the past 10 years, Shafiqa, 28, recalled her bitter memories, saying that she secretly joined the police 10 years ago and kept her duty secret to her family and relatives for quite a long time to escape possible backlash.
In the conservative and patriarchal Afghanistan, many people, especially in the countryside, deeply believe in tribal and old-fashioned traditions, and would not allow their female family members to go out of home unless accompanied by a male close relative.
Nevertheless, the valiant Shafiqa, as herself said, has ignored the traditions and cultural barriers to realize her dream of becoming a policewoman.
"Wearing police uniform in the conservative society creates many enemies for you," Shafiqa whispered. "I'm still receiving threatening phone calls."
In the militancy-plagued Afghanistan where some 20 insurgent groups such as Taliban, al-Qaida, Islamic State and associated outfits are active, serving in the police or government troops is full of risk.
Over a dozen policewomen have reportedly been killed by militants over the past couple of years and in the latest attack, the Taliban militants, according to local officials, shot dead a policewoman in the northern Kunduz province last week.
However, Shafiqa downplayed all the threats, saying "solid resolve and continued struggle can help you achieve your goal in the society."
Working in a criminal department of police in the northern Jawzjan province, 390 km north of Kabul, Shafiqa explained that women make up one half of the society and they should be empowered to jointly build a developed society.
Encouraging women and girls to join the police, Shafiqa boasted that dozens of females had joined the police rank due to her support in the province.
Shafiqa was married to a policeman a year ago. She participated in a series of police operations against militants in parts of Jawzjan and Faryab provinces to inspire the women and girls to join the police force and contribute to law and order in the country.
Expressing satisfaction over her duty and achievements, Shafiqa's husband Nabi Shirzad told Xinhua joyfully, "I am proud of my wife that she is a police and serving her people fearlessly."
Confirming Shafiqa's efforts to inspire women and girls to join the police, Jawzjan police spokesman Masoud Nadim admitted that more than 70 female police are working in different branches of police in the province, and the interest among females to join the police rank is on the rise.
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