Women on Afghan frontlines to fight Taliban

Women on Afghan frontlines to fight Taliban

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Kabul:  The women of Afghanistan have the worst to fear from the return of the Taliban, but not everyone is waiting for someone else to write the script of their lives. On the outskirts of Kabul, at the special forces base, we meet Najla, one of the first and few female soldiers in Afghanistan.

Najla has taken part in every operation of her unit and is getting ready to fight the extremists who were responsible for the suppression of women in her country.

The story of this woman is quite uncommon in a land where not very long ago, women used to be under house arrest. A mother of two, Najla gets all the support from her husband, a soldier himself in Khost, a province in Afghanistan.

"My husband and I are fighting for the nation, we have no fear. We will send the Taliban right back if they ever return," Najla says.

Thirty kilometres out of Kabul, we meet Rehmat, a former Taliban soldier, who fought alongside Mullah Baradar, second in command in the Taliban, Mullah Omar's most trusted ally.

He left the Taliban, he says, because it is being controlled by Pakistan and he wanted good education for his children.

The father in Rehmat defeated the extremist in him and now the man, who once ferociously fought international troops, wants investors to come to his country, so his children can get jobs .It's the exit of foreign forces that worries him.

"In Helmand, Kandahar and Ghazni, the Government of Afghanistan does not have any control. Like in our province, Kapisa, 80 per cent  of control over the province is in the hands of the Taliban. Pretty much the whole area is being controlled by the Taliban. So how will it be possible to control whole of Afghanistan?" he asks.

Rehmat understands the ground reality and says unless well equipped, the Afghan army has little chance of fighting the Taliban.

It's a catch-22 situation for the Afghans. They don't want to be under the Americans but they don't want them to leave in a hurry either, leaving them to face the Taliban.
Story First Published: May 24, 2013 08:35 IST

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