For Afghanistan to hire women to protect Band-e-Amir, its 1st National Park, is a breath of fresh air in the light of us hearing mostly war stories about this country. After all, this is a pioneering initiative in a country where only 16 percent of women work.
The Band-e-Amir Park and the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan were said to be popular stops in the hippie trails of the 1960s. But the wars that have beset Afghanistan and the reality of the Taliban has meant the lost of foreign tourists frequenting these scenic spots.
As Afghanistan tries to move forward and rebuild itself, it has made an apparently bold move to hire women to train and protect the country’s National Park. Fatima, Kubra, Nikbakht, and Sediqa are the park’s first and only female wardens. Along with other rangers their responsibilities include: assisting local tourists, teaching children about conservation and ensuring visitors do no harm to the park.
Stretching over 570 square kilometres, Band-e-Amir was declared a national park in 2009. It has six azure blue mineral lakes surrounded by cliffs. It is also home to wildlife such as the Persian leopard, ibex, urials as well as the Afghan snow finch.
We look forward to Afghanistan making more strides towards development and growth especially in its peace situation, opportunities for women to work and protection of its natural resources and wildlife.
Based on reports from Aljazeera.com
Photos: Leslie Knott/Aljazeera