>> A battle on two fronts in Afghanistan. A new batch of army recruits training up as officers at Kabul's Military Academy, all of them women. They face a rising Taliban insurgency, but closer to home battle prejudice and even threats. In what the UN calls one of the hardest places to be a woman in the world.
>> I decided to join the army to save the lives of my people, to help defend ourselves. And I hope this also encourages other girls to sign up.>> The US is budgeting around $94 million this year to recruit more women to the Afghan army, part of its NATO led mission to beef up local forces.
These recruits won't be in combat, instead doing jobs in logistics, intelligence, and radio operations. And in some cases, help out special forces on missions like raids and searches. But they may find their efforts thankless. More than 60% of Afghans in a recent poll saying the Army isn't a proper place for a woman.
>> We live in a conservative society and most people here are critical about women who work outside the home. But we must not give up, we must overcome these challenges and do our duty.>> And the problem isn't just recruitment, it's also retention. NATO officers report women dropping out after getting pressure from male relatives or even their colleagues in the army.
The US estimates that even after years of investment and a goal to get 5,000 women into Afghanistan's army, today there are fewer than 900.