Taliban recruit female riot police
The decision to formalise the Public Order Police and the inclusion of 100 female employees into the anti-riot forces comes in the wake of increased female protests, and criticism of the Taliban for using violence and force.
1 Nov 2022
On October 31, 2022, the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior released a video report showing the Public Order Police Forces, including female staff, demonstrating their capabilities in countering riots.
While there is footage of female police employed by the Taliban authorities for specific missions in Kabul, like house searches and clearance operations, this video report is the first to show a larger group of women in a training facility, the Kabul Police Training Centre. The women interviewed in the report called on all former female police officers to return to their positions and claimed that there would be no threats or problems on their return.
Some pro-Taliban news channels have quoted the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, who referred to the absence of professional police in Afghanistan as a factor in Taliban forces beating women on the streets. In a conference on October 26, 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, also commented on the Taliban’s violence against women and girls in the country, keeping the issue in the spotlight.
The decision to formalise the Public Order Police and the inclusion of 100 female employees into the anti-riot forces comes in the wake of increased female protests, and criticism for using violence and force. This female force may be an effort to change the optics around the Taliban’s handling of women-led protests, as well as a broader communications exercise to showcase the integration of women into society and the government. However, there are concerns the female police may provide a fig-leaf for further violence against protestors.