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Afghan National Army Looks To Recruit More Women

FILE: Afghan female soldiers march in the western city of Herat in April 2014.

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says it wants to raise the number of women serving in the Afghan National Army to a level where women comprise 10 percent of the force.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said on January 27 that the government had set several measures, including a special salary scale for female recruits, to encourage more women to join up.

"At this stage, we have 1,575 Afghan women in our army ranks, it is a mere 3 to 4 percent -- which is nothing," Radmanesh said. "We are aiming to raise this percentage to 10 percent."

Radmanesh said there currently were about 400 Afghan women recruits training at Defense Ministry facilities.

Women serving in the military is a controversial topic in conservative Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and