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You are here News International Afghanistan's first female police chief starts job

Afghanistan's first female police chief starts job

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Kabut woman police chiefShe wears a black headscarf instead of a cap. But otherwise Col. Jamila Bayaz looks like any other district police chief in Afghanistan as she reviews checkpoints in the center of Kabul.

Bayaz, 50, is the first woman to be promoted to run an entire district - the highest front-line appointment for an Afghan policewoman. With just two days on the job, she said she feels up to the challenge despite the threat as policewomen are among the Taliban's top targets.

"I work day and night," she said as she walked through a money exchange bazaar that lies at the heart of Kabul's District 1. "I am ready to serve, I am not scared nor am I afraid."

Women have made much progress since the days of Taliban rule, when they were forced to cover their heads and faces with burqas and banned from going to school or outdoors without a male relative as an escort. They have greater access to education, health care and the workplace but still face widespread discrimination, domestic abuse and militant attacks in this ultraconservative Islamic society.

Being a woman in the public eye poses particular difficulties.

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