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Jan-31-2007 22:09printcommentsVideo

Women in the Afghanistan National Army on the Firing Range With the AK-47 (VIDEO)

For the first time in recent history, the women of Afghanistan's military are growing in numbers, and advancing in their roles as practical military soldiers. As Tim King reports, the women of Afghanistan are also gaining status and acceptance.

Afghan National Army women
Women serving in the ANA take to the firing range with their AK-47's. Photo by: Tim King

(KABUL, Afghanistan) - Under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, men abused women in the streets for simple infractions like not wearing a burka.

But there is no doubt that women here today are making advances.

Afghan women armed with the AK-47 assault rifle conducted their first live firing exercise this week. This historic occasion marks true progress in the Afghanistan woman's struggle to gain equality.

American women have had their own challenges in gaining equality, and the operation speaks wonders to people like U.S. Army Lt. Amanda Straub, and other Americans like Navy Lt. Janet Arencibia, who say those who understand the significance of this progress find it emotional.

One distinguished soldier, the Afghanistan Army's only female general, says her female soldiers view their military service as a lifetime commitment.

The truth is, many of the women present on the firing range lost a great deal over the last twenty-five years, losses including husbands and sons.

Attesting to the desire to build gender equality, Major Mohammad Shappor of the Afghan National Army says their evolving culture embraces the change and growth of women in military service.

For their first time firing the AK, these women performed well at the 100 meter target. Many placed rounds in the man-sized target, and all say it was a good first experience with live fire.

Watch the Video News Report below, direct from Kabul, Afghanistan by Tim King:Video


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address:

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Asif From kabul August 19, 2008 4:06 am (Pacific time)

I am realy gald that i see our women to join in National army it is time to make our future and thanks from all countries whom the help us to make our Army

GI Janie February 13, 2007 4:20 pm (Pacific time)

no worries my type-o as well. seriously, she is deceased now but was a WAC back in the day. tough ol gal, but a kind heart once she let you get close. She was very health conscious, truly believed in physically fitness and how it affected your mental capabilities. As for me 18 years in army national guard. G-ma inspired me greatly. and yes ST Patty's day is a holiday to be taken seriously with my family.

JAFO; February 13, 2007 1:45 am (Pacific time)

GI Janie, I meant to say.,"I was in Golf company"...,and on. I didn't include the "I", so I wansn't trying to make it sound like you were the one thirty ears ago. Was your grandma really in the Marines?

GI Janie February 9, 2007 7:01 am (Pacific time)

More than 30 yrs ago, that maybe my G-ma in her younger years. now she teaches kundalini Yoga and lift weights for a hobbie. that fiesty irish female blood. no man told her what to, by god..well unless he outranks her,, and even then its just protocol answer. This st patty's day I know where I'll find her.. can say on linne

JAFO; February 8, 2007 4:03 pm (Pacific time)

G.I. Janie, was with Golf company 2/3, USMC, more than thirty years ago! PTSD still jumps me at all times even when I try to stop it! So here's to good meds!, and I noticed the tai chi routine of "breating out" when you can't put one foot in front of the other, has immediate benefits too. Surer Joe is probably rife with it but in denial, and as a heroic type dude he participates in scary activities.,quite immature behavior some may conclude, but he jumps out of airplanes for entertainment! I'm serious! So what should we expect I guess? Personally I can't even contemplate an afternoon of "paint ball" and the tracer question not really serious, as I hope I never see them in any color again..,but I think a mix of red and green w/ a bit of white phosphorous for a backgroud finale.,in an empty sky of course, maybe tolerable.

JAFO February 6, 2007 9:31 pm (Pacific time)

as in Just Another Foreign Observer, I find any personal involvement left for the courageous to achieve.,while claiming observational skills only. You can jump out of airplanes if you want.,surfing and snowboarding in the himilayas also for the brave and I am not.,and don't forget your bouyancy compensators!.,out of the plane they can be used like "crash bags" in case the ground speeds up. Tell me when it's over.,I'll comment then.

Surfer Joe February 6, 2007 8:57 pm (Pacific time)

Down in Doheny where the surfers all go there's a big bleached blondie named Surfer Joe. He's got a green surfboard and a woody to match, and when he's ridin' the freeways, man is he hard to catch... I do believe I have been accused of flirting? Well maybe a little, just simple curiosity. JAFO is setting us up, dastardly JAFO! Whoa, there went another flare, did you see that? Hey Janie, that is cool that you understand the dory thing. Speaking of that, the Dory Cove in Lincoln City looks like somebody hit it with an RPG, very sad. So JAFO, when are we going skyboarding? We could bring Janie as long as we schedule a fishing trip on the way.

GI Janie February 6, 2007 8:17 pm (Pacific time)

read the fine print.. spouse??? will leave the drama to the drama kings and queens. Will fore go that rein of terror. also you said tracers,, not flares,, my bad. PTSD and ADD get to me when miss my meds. green is my pref and again blue flares over white. blue doesnt mess up the night vision. would have read up on the meaning regarding flare colors. its been while. more upto date on fishing and making sure the dory dont hit no more surfers..

GI Janie February 6, 2007 6:40 pm (Pacific time)

no problem. Surfers are nice to watch from distance.. curious but no crushes' here. Been to PC and overheard the fishermen complain, kind of funny to watch the whole scene. amazing no one has been hurt. Heard one 4th of july punches were exchanged between a surfer and fisherdude.. from what know, the dorys dont aim for you guys,, prefer fishing actually to surfing myself. not a good swimmer and for the record,, prefer blue flares. not white ones, they are too bright. lol

wahoo news! February 5, 2007 11:36 pm (Pacific time)

Flash; Captain Lisa Nowak, U.S.Navy Astronaut, space shuttle veteran, highly Trained military pilot.,firearms qualified up to and including space launched rocketry., arrested in Florida on attempted kidnapping charges! (I'm not making this up) and get this.,the lady drove from Houston to Orlando to confront and coerce a suspected rival sweety edging in on her spaceman! She was loaded up with a B.B. gun,(I swear I'm not twisting your leg!) rubber tubing and a disguise as well as a full box of hefty garbage bags!..,and a four inch buck knife!! Ongoing investigation to motive for driving 900 miles instead of flying her own Sabre jet is continuing. She is now in deep buffalo, excrementally speaking, but if extracted would be ideal for Afghanistan posting. wahoo! out

JAFO February 5, 2007 8:08 pm (Pacific time)

G.I. Janie; be careful! "great minds think alike " was an old line in My time!.,and if he's who I think.,his spouse would not hesitate to use past training., and I fear for his safety.,so may I suggest you corresond with a more mature weapons proof technician?.,and just a personal question.,do you like red or green tracers? and Surfer Joe.,the whoosh of an RPG-2? or the solid reassurance thump of a safely detonated claymore?

JAFO February 5, 2007 7:49 pm (Pacific time)

Surfer Joe: didn't we meet on the battlefield of life before?, and are you suggesting we do more than sit around like observational lumps in our reclining chairs?, as in, take it upon ourselves to prove said "observations"?, as in walkin' the talk? What a bold concept! By the way., ever try sky boarding?, you know, where you jump out of a perfectly good airborn machine and ride the slipstream till gravity intervenes?., or as I suspect., snowboarding in the Himalayas?, and I think G.I. Janie may have a crush on you too but I'm not 100%, so keep posted.,and be careful as she may be trained!

Surfer Joe February 5, 2007 7:44 pm (Pacific time)

Janie, Cool, thanks. Yes, I do surf in Oregon. I think PC is an awesome spot too, nothing like having a fishing boat crash through a wave about five feet away from you. Are you in Oregon?

GI Janie February 5, 2007 7:27 pm (Pacific time)

lol. so true surfer.. Raven said it well also. Dont think some realize how much americans are hated. and how we take our lifestyle for granted. true equality will never exist, but respect of difference is what can be strived for. We do obtain that at times in this country. There is always the lowest common demoninator to screw it up though.. so do you surf in OR? in pc?

Surfer Joe February 5, 2007 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

G.I. Janie... great minds think alike.

Surfer Joe February 5, 2007 10:58 am (Pacific time)

Hey Disgusted, there is open travel to Afghanistan. Why don't you go have a look for yourself? You are right about the United States, but problems women face here are dwarfed by problems they face in faraway places. I think the reporter talked about American women facing challenges in the story, doesn't that cover it?

Raven February 5, 2007 10:53 am (Pacific time)

Hey Disgusted....maybe you should go over there and experience things first hand. There is still discrimination in this country, but things are slowly evolving in the right direction. Maybe you would appreciate your own country more if you had a true taste of the hatred experienced by the people of these far away places.

GI Janie February 5, 2007 9:23 am (Pacific time)

Well said Sufer Joe"

Disgusted February 5, 2007 5:15 am (Pacific time)

I have always said that we needed to go into Afghanistan to clean up the terror training camps and any other threat from terrorists. What really annoys me is that people talk about the way that women are treated in this far away place but do not think about the discrimination that still exists in the U.S. Who are we to point fingers at their culture when in our country we still have not yet had a black, gay, female, Jewish etc. President? If you think that many of the minorities here are not treated differently or outright discriminated against, then you have your head up your a**. Gays still face horrible discrimination and yes even death in some areas of the country. Will Hillary become president? I doubt it. She might get close and her presidency and situation is really very different than the other groups that I mentioned. Each group gets its share of crap although not equally. From what I have seen, gays really get treated badly, then African Americans, then Latinos. This is not an exact sociological science that I am talking about. It is just obvious from what I see in the culture, spoken and unspoken. Acted out or not acted out, our own people are not treated equally and many are outright mentally and physically abused. Some are abused by being ostraziced.

Cahu Vanist; February 4, 2007 9:01 pm (Pacific time)

the best feeling I'd ever experienced when we were together was being shot at and missed! Employing trickery., camolflage and boldly advancing in another direction, never allowing her the opportunity to hit a stationary target., became my "Sinatra Mantra", I did it my way!

Surfer Joe February 4, 2007 4:30 pm (Pacific time)

Nobody in a western country can imagine what it is like for these women to exist with so many forces working against them. Too bad it is guns in this case, but at least they are moving forward. More power to the women of Afghanistan!

~ February 4, 2007 10:54 am (Pacific time)

lol, Chav,, your X misses you but her aim is getting better. obviously since still breathing.

Stupid February 4, 2007 7:48 am (Pacific time)

The Afghan women should protest by burning their bras. Please note that it will be a very small fire.

Chau Vanist; February 4, 2007 2:21 am (Pacific time)

in fact.,the X looks like a composite of these women and I wish she'd go help them.,and Gloria , Condi, Coulter, and Laura too!

Chau Vanist February 4, 2007 12:16 am (Pacific time)

Oh., certainly! I wouldn't even consider critisizing them, I'm an Oregon divorce vet if the 70's!. The X is better off training with an A.K. than betrothel.,tracers are fun! just don't fire off a whole magazine at once! only three round bursts!

GI Janie February 3, 2007 10:04 pm (Pacific time)

Proficientcy takes time, training is key to all soldiers, male or female. yea they look like basic trainees. gotta start somewhere. I'm sure it is a proud moment for the female Lt's to witness. and cheers to Gloria and ANA females.

Tim King February 3, 2007 12:27 pm (Pacific time)

Going to the live fire range is a new experience for women, I do not think they will be hitting the front lines any time soon, but at least they would have a clearer idea of what they should do if they did. Gloria should be proud.

S.LaMarche February 2, 2007 11:00 pm (Pacific time)

thanks Tim.,the headlines indicate these newly trained women will soon see combat in one or more forms highly likely. The same headlines indicate 3,092 U.S. military have died as of Feb.2,2007.

Gregg February 1, 2007 11:34 pm (Pacific time)

Good work Tim. It's a change to see what's going on over there, without all the b.s. Thanks.

Chau Vanist; February 1, 2007 8:34 pm (Pacific time)

Gloria with an A.K.? I can picture her and Patricia Hearst on a wanted poster.,but I cannot picture Hillary Clinton in the White House armed with an A.K.,who let 'em vote in the first place?

JAFO February 1, 2007 7:55 pm (Pacific time)

but..., I don't think it's what Gloria Steinem had in mind..,you remember her don't you?

JAFO February 1, 2007 6:46 pm (Pacific time)

I would personally be nervous if my wife was armed and trained with an A.K.-47,and confidence would flee entirely if she was armed with an A.K.-47 and Not trained! She., on the other hand, wouldn't put up with anymore "male nonsense" I try, so begrudginly I'd say it was a type of progress, I suppose I'd have to do the dishes more often.

janie February 1, 2007 11:13 am (Pacific time)


Jon G. February 1, 2007 9:15 am (Pacific time)

Interesting story on what is going on with women in Afghanistan, I am glad to see that they are making some progress.

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