WASHINGTON (PAN of Courage Award that she would receive from US First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on March 8.
The annual reward recognises women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honoured 67 women from 45 different countries.
Malalai Bahaduri’s story was one of hope and perseverance that began in the mid-1960s, the State Department said. At the age of two, her parents moved from Maidan Wardak province to Kabul through the 12th grade, it said.
“When Afghanistan was liberated by coalition forces in 2002, First Sergeant Bahaduri, with the support of her husband, decided to leave her job as a telecommunications operator to pursue a career in law enforcement. A mother of three, she endured death threats and physical abuse at the hands of an uncle who broke her nose after learning of her career decision. Undeterred by his reaction, First Sergeant Bahaduri accepted the challenge,” the statement said.
Her dedication to achieve success, coupled with a powerful spirit to endure criticisms from both her peers and family, was eventually recognised when she was selected and became the first female member of the Afghan National Interdiction Unit (NIU).
Despite her achievements, she continued to endure social bias and death threats to herself and her family. As an NIU instructor, she is committed to the professional development of the Counter-Narcotics Police-Afghanistan (CNP-A), the statement added.
“She plays an integral role in the Afghan effort to target the most significant drug trafficking networks, collect evidence and arrest and prosecute drug traffickers in accordance with Afghan law. She has developed a strong reputation for duty and excellence among the Afghan members of the NIU, as well as with her US advisors and mentors,” the State Department said.