Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that language from his amendment to promote the safety, security, and rights of Afghanistan’s women and children has been included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). During a critical period of transition in Afghanistan, the bill urges the Administration to work with the Government of Afghanistan on a host of protections for women and children.
The provision seeks to increase the number of women serving in the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police; ensure accountability mechanisms for ANA and ANP personnel relating to the treatment of women and girls; calls on the Department of Defense to assist in the development of a plan to bolster and train the Afghan National Police’s Family Response Units who are specifically trained to combat domestic violence; and to ensure women can vote in the 2015 Parliamentary elections. In 2014, women in Afghanistan turned out in historic numbers, despite serious security concerns.
“Although significant progress has been made in women’s rights and security, there are still far too many horrific incidences of violence against women and children,” said Senator Casey. “Our servicemembers made tremendous sacrifices to bring Afghanistan to where it is today. During my recent trip to the Oslo Symposium on Women’s Rights and Empowerment in Afghanistan, I emphasized that the rights of Afghan women and girls are not negotiable. Sustaining and solidifying these gains is consistent with both American values and national security interests.”
This provision urges the Department of Defense to continue working with the Afghan National Security Forces to promote the security of Afghan women and girls during the transition process. Specifically, it would:
- Prioritize the recruitment and retention of women in the Afghan National Security Forces. Calls on the Secretary of Defense to support and encourage the Government of Afghanistan in their development and implementation of a strategy in cooperation with the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior to increase the number of female members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) and to ensure their equal treatment. It also urges the Department of Defense to assist in the development of accountability mechanisms for ANA and ANP personnel relating to the treatment of women and girls. This would include the provision of appropriate equipment for female security and police forces; modification of facilities to allow for female participation; and training to include literacy training for women recruits and gender awareness training for male counterparts.
- Support police units that are specially trained to work with female or adolescent victims. This includes assistance in the development of plan to increase the number of female security officers specifically trained to address cases of gender-based violence, including ensuring the Afghan National Police’s Family Response Units (FRUs) have the necessary resources and are available to women across Afghanistan.
- Ensure the adequate staffing of polling stations by female officers. This provision emphasizes the need to maintain the female searcher capabilities that were established for the April 2014 presidential elections for the 2015 parliamentary elections.