February 15, 2013 - 19:20 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Afghan army is training women special forces troops to carry out night raids against insurgents, breaking new ground in an ultra-conservative society and filling a vacuum left by departing international forces, Belfast Telegraph said.
Night raids have long been a divisive issue between Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who does not want foreign troops entering Afghan homes, and the US-led coalition that says the raids are essential to capturing Taliban commanders.
Many Afghans, however, have complained that the house raids are culturally offensive. Having male troops search Afghan females is taboo. So is touching a family's Koran or entering a home without being invited. Another focus of anger has been the disregard for privacy and Afghan culture because women and children are usually home during the raids.
The raids are now conducted jointly by US and Afghan forces, but the female Afghan special forces soldiers play an important role. Their job is to round up women and children and get them to safety while guarding against the potential dangers of female suicide bombers or militants disguised in women's clothes.
The missions have taken on increasing importance and the Afghan government and the US-led coalition have stepped up training of the Afghan special forces as international troops prepare to end their combat mission in 23 months.
President Barack Obama is to withdraw about half of the 66,000 US troops now in Afghanistan within a year. He did not spell out what US military presence would remain after 2014.