During their six-month training at the academy located in the isolated district of Nowshera district, the women will learn how to use weapons such as anti-tank and anti-aircraft launchers. They rise at 5 a.m. and train until 11 p.m. — often in temperatures as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit all while nearly fully covered.
Female fighters are vital in order to search suspected militant compounds and inspect women. They do not risk offending a family’s honor by conducting home searches, whereas a man can easily make tense and dangerous situations worse by entering the compound of a family unrelated to him.
The women, who are also learning how to guard gatherings and master other basic policing duties, have already outperformed some of their toughest critics.
With 1,100 police killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone over that period, the local government decided to mirror moves taken in other provinces and draft in elite female commandos.