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    Women to serve in Afghan army

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    Women are to be invited to join the Afghan army, an Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

    Women are to be invited to join the Afghan army, an Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

    Women between 18-35 years old, with at least 9 years of school education, will serve in military hospitals and combat service support units after training courses lasting up to six months, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

    He also said that the total number of women serving in the army would reach 171,000 in two years, or 10% of the army's total personnel.

    Afghan national army service is non-compulsory and personnel receive salaries.

    In December, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to the country as part of an effort to turn the tide in the fight against the radical Islamic Taliban group.

    However, with mounting deaths among troops, the Western allies hope to start a gradual withdrawal as early as in 2011, transferring security tasks to the Afghan army and police.

    The Taliban closed down girls' schools and imposed strict interpretations of Islamic law during its five-year reign in Afghanistan, which ended after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

    KABUL, February 4 (RIA Novosti)

     

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