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By AB Jo Dilorenzo
AT THE compound of Uruzgan's
recently appointed provincial
chief of police, Mutullia Khan,
12 women from Coalition forc-
es and 13 from the Afghanistan
Uniformed Police (AUP) shared
a dinner near the end of Ramadan
in late August.
The Afghan women arrived
wearing burqas, but once inside
the room, removed them and their
shoes and, with the assistance of
the interpreters, introductions were
Cpl Katie Lockwood, MTF
3, was one of the FET members
attending on her first mission out-
side the wire.
"I was excited about doing this
mission, being able to meet with
fellow women in uniformed roles,"
The AUP members who attended
the dinner came from administration
and logistic support roles and as
part of their jobs would also search
other females when required.
"The women were happy they
were employed but they had no
identity to their position, no uni-
form, no identification cards, it was
sad to see," Cpl Lockwood said.
"The meal was an eye opener to
me," Cpl Lockwood said. "I have
not travelled to areas with such a
different culture. The food was dif-
ferent; the way it was served and the
way it was consumed.
"The menu was rice, Afghan sal-
ads with tomatoes and cucumbers,
potatoes, chunks of meat cooked in
spices and oils, and a massive piece
of wood-fired cooked bread.
"A piece of fabric lined the floor
protecting the plush Afghan rugs.
We sat on the floor and the food was
laid out on various plates, pans and
dishes. Once it was placed down,
the ladies ate communally off all the
plates with their fingers."
After the meal, the Afghan and
Coalition women shared their expe-
riences on the job.
"We spoke through our inter-
preters asking about their roles and
responsibilities. The ladies I spoke
with had only been in the AUP for
six months," Cpl Lockwood said.
Work wasn't the only topic of
conversation. The women spoke
about their families, homes and the
fashions from their different coun-
While the meeting was taking
place, soldiers from the US 4/70
Armoured Regiment (4-70AR) pro-
"I am looking forward to my
next mission out in Uruzgan to
speak with the women and listen
to their issues and report them
to the relevant authorities," Cpl
women in uniform
meet over dinner
MEMBERS of Combined
Team -- Uruzgan's (CT-U)
female engagement team
(FET) met with the female
mayor of Nili District in Uruzgan's
neighbouring Daykundi province to
discuss local issues in late August.
In broken English, using hand
signals and with the help of a good
interpreter, Mayor Azra Jafari was able
to explain local problems openly to
Australian Capt Julie Williams and US
Navy Leut Renee Baggot.
FETs are an International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) initiative to
bridge the cultural gap which prevents
most Afghan women being engaged by
the male-dominated security forces.
Forming half of the population,
women in Afghanistan have important
Able to go where
men can't, female
across Afghanistan are
building bridges into
Afghan society, AB Jo
roles within the family and network
across the community differently to men.
Ms Jafari discussed the district's
education, health, communications and
employment situation, focusing on areas
that required improvement.
"We have few females working in
health care roles. We would like to train
more women for these roles," she said.
Gaining an understanding of the dis-
trict's strengths and weaknesses is a way
the FET can focus on areas that require
assistance and report to the relevant
authorities, who can enable the neces-
"In Daykundi the environment is
far more permissive than Uruzgan
and as security enables development
and governance, it is evident that with
limited resources the local government
in Daykundi has made its best attempt
to resolve issues and address human
needs," Capt Williams said.
The CT-U FET has committed to
continue engaging with the mayor and
build stronger relationships with other
females in Daykundi province.
Girl talk: Capt Julie Williams, from Combined Team -- Uruzgan's FET, makes note of local issues raised by Nili
District Mayor Azra Jafari during a meeting in late August.
Photos by AB Jo Dilorenzo
Sharing a meal: FET members talk over dinner with Afghan women
from the Afghan Uniformed Police.
Army October 13, 2011
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