October 19, 2008
Lieutenant-Colonel Malalai Kakar, Afghanistan’s highest-ranking woman police officer, was praised for her toughness but was murdered by the Taleban. Her obituary in The Times:
Kakar became a revered figure in Kandahar after killing three assassins in a shoot-out
Kakar was the first woman to become a police detective in the ultraconservative Kandahar – a dangerous place for any police officer let alone a woman. Kandahar, the birthplace of Taleban extremism, is the largest city in southern Afghanistan and its surrounding province of the same name has a population of about 900,000.
Kakar rose through the ranks to become the country’s most prominent policewoman as the head of the crimes against women department of the Kandahar police, leading a team of nearly a dozen policewomen. Her main roles were to sort out family disputes, protect women from domestic violence and run the women’s prison.
June 3, 2008
From The Spectator:
There is something oddly soothing about going to sleep to the sound of gunfire in Kandahar airbase. The shots are fired by British troops, honing the night combat skills which achieved such success over the Taleban last winter. The fighting season was due to start four weeks ago, when the poppy harvest ended – but so far, nothing. British commanders are quietly optimistic that the Taleban has counted its 6,000 dead, learned it cannot win firefights and switched to guerrilla tactics instead.
Only in Afghanistan could the rockets being fired into the Kandahar airbase be seen as a sign of progress. Much as the prospect may terrify visitors, the soldiers themselves are sanguine. For those who were in the Iraqi bases being shelled 60 times a night, using body armour for pyjamas, the four-a-week rate of Kandahar is nothing. The main complaint of the servicemen and women is that the Taleban may well have gone underground and sporadic missile alerts could be all the action they see.