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Recruiting women as officer cadets at the Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy

Recruiting women as officer cadets at the Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy

The Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy is a world class facility, with excellent training and accommodation facilities for women. On a recent visit there with NATO’s Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Marriot Schurrman spoke to some of the young women there, and they were absolutely excited to be there, really wanting to serve their country in a meaningful way. Just a very impressive group of young women. There are some challenges, recruiting women into the Afghan Army, challenges that are experienced actually by other countries around the world. It’s not a traditional occupation for women, but knowing that, we are developing strategies and recruiting programs that specifically target womens entry into the army. I think there are challenges in educating and training female officers here, because of the culture, as you quite rightly say. But from what I’ve seen: twenty this year, already we are at twenty two next year, and rising. So, the word is out there. General Sharifi, the Afghan general who is the commandant at the academy, is absolutely, personally committed to making sure that high number of Afghan women have this amazing opportunity to train at ANAOA [the academy] And as for the women, they, like their brothers, their Afghan brothers, just want to contribute to Afghans’ enduring peace by having meaningful roles in their army. Same as their male counterparts, they want to serve their country, they want to be part of what comes next and this is a great place for them to achieve that.

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