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"We Are Not Afraid Of Death:" Lieutenant Nigar's Last Interview With RFE/RL

Helmand police officer Lieutenant Nigar in an undated courtesy photo.
In July, Lieutenant Nigar (one name only) became the highest-ranking woman police officer in Afghanistan's ultraconservative Helmand Province when her predecessor in that position was assassinated.

In the days after Islam Bibi's killing, Nigar discussed the importance of Afghan women participating in the effort to establish security and shrugged off the dangers as being part of the job.

On September 15, Nigar was also killed after being shot by unknown attackers. Here are some excerpts from her early July interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan.

On the killing of Islam Bibi, her predecessor as the highest-ranking female police officer in Helmand Province:

"This is Afghanistan. Fighting has been going on for 30 years in this country. [Dangerous things] happen. Either you die or live on. We are not afraid of death."

On the recruitment of women into Afghanistan's police forces:

"My message to everyone is to come join the women's police forces. We are human beings and deadly attacks can happen. There shouldn't be any problems."

On the importance of having women officers present during house searches:

"Without the accompaniment of women, our police and the army cannot do anything. Women are needed, and they shouldn't be scared [to join]. We should take pride in the fact that our people are happy with the work we do and they thank God that we women police exist."

On the role women play in establishing trust with locals during search operations:

“Sometimes people are terrified when police enter their homes. I take off my veil and keep telling them, 'Don't be scared, we are women police.' We introduce ourselves to women and conduct our search operation and I find that they are very happy and satisfied with us."