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Afghanistan seeks advice from Victoria Police in protecting females after international withdrawal

Date

Carmelene Greco

As police in Afghanistan start to look to life beyond the withdrawal of the international military force from their country, Afghan leaders this week met with members of Victoria Police to discuss the challenges they faced in protecting women and girls.

Najibullah Samsour, the chief of police of a part of Kabul known as District 10, said the goal was to win the support of the Australian government in combating an expected increase in violence against women after the forces withdraw. 

''I want to give the Australian people and government an idea of the problems of the women – as well as the challenges of the Afghan police force,'' he said through an interpreter. 

Mr Samsour said more stringent laws were being introduced to tackle violence, but his country would need the support and advice of the international community.

Zulaikha Rafiq, the director of Afghan Women's Educational Centre, indicated that change had begun. The centre runs more than 20 projects in 10 provinces focusing on empowering women. 

She said the organisation had two focuses: education and economic strength. Ms Rafiq said they were trying to increase the literacy rate through ''informal education for women and young girls''. 

The centre works at a grassroots level with individual women and uses what it learns there to help government and police develop and improve policy.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said the force was committed to sharing its knowledge in helping change attitudes and behaviours. 

''There are some big challenges ahead,'' he said. 

The Afghan leaders are speaking at Oxfam-hosted events, called Afghanistan at a Crossroads, in Collins Street on May 16 and in Dandenong on May 17.

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