First Female Afghan Police Chief: I Am Not Afraid
'I am ready to serve' despite Taliban threat, she says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2014 12:57 AM CST
Afghanistan's first-ever female district police chief, Col. Jamila Bayaz, 50, center, walks as she review a checkpost in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
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(Newser) – Kabul's District 1 has a new police chief—and the Taliban has a new target. Col. Jamila Bayaz has become the first Afghan policewoman to run an entire district, and she says she is ready to face the challenge despite the threat from militants, the AP reports. "I work day and night," says the 50-year-old, a mother of five who joined the police force more than 30 years ago. "I am ready to serve, I am not scared nor am I afraid."

Afghan policewoman are often targeted by the Taliban, whose brutal 5-year rule forced Bayaz to stay home instead of doing her job. "I was a housewife taking care of my family," she says. "Women are part of society and since they left, more and more are getting involved and they need to join the police." She hopes her high-profile job will encourage more women to join the police force, which now has 1,551 policewomen out of 53,400 personnel, up from just 180 in 2005.