The international community´s engagement in gender and community policing in Afghanistan : approaches and challenges
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Afghanistan has a long history of discriminatory practices against women and distrust in the police. Since 2001, the international community has had a strong presence in Afghanistan. A focus area has been security sector reform (SSR) where community policing has received much attention. Community based police reform aims to get closer relations and cooperation between police and civil society and to ameliorate the human security situation. A factor that might be of importance for community based policing to succeed is to address gender issues. Using document analysis and interviews, this research study reveals that Afghan laws and policies have been modernized and ensure equal rights for both women and men. However, the implementation of these laws and policies is limited, which leads to inequalities and a lack of trust in law enforcement institutions. Gender is integrated in the planning processes, policies and development programs on community policing of the international community. However, there is a long way to go for community policing, gender and women ́s rights to be respected and integrated into Afghan society. This research provides a broader understanding of the approaches to and effects of community policing projects that includes gender in Afghanistan. It reveals that progress has been slow. There is therefore a need for all involved actors to reflect together on any need for changes in their community policing programs and approaches to achieving gender equality and human security for all Afghans in the long-term.