KABUL, Afghanistan

In a first, a Turkish-trained Afghan female police officer has taken charge at anti-crime branch in Afghanistan’s remote Khost province.

The young Zala Zazai got training at Turkey’s police academy before taking charge in the province, which has been plagued by the Taliban-led insurgency.

Speaking at her swearing-in ceremony, according to an official handout by the provincial administration, the young female officer vowed to serve the community to the best of her abilities with the longstanding motive of “God, country, duty.”

On Twitter, Zazai underlined the cultural impediments ahead, saying: “Today, I officially begin my duty in beautiful Khost. It is not easy in Pashtun and traditional society to perform duty, but I am proud to serve my country and promise to remain honest in my duty.”

The appointment has stirred mixed reaction on social media, with some opposing it on cultural grounds and others defending it based on gender equality.

“When a male gets a position he is hailed, celebrated and welcomed with gifts for weeks, but when a female takes a post she remains the target of verbal abuse, insult, and persecution for weeks. How long shall this gender-discrimination continue?” commented Roya Musawi, a Kabul-based woman.

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