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Old 09-16-2002, 03:53 PM
sfc_darrel sfc_darrel is offline
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Talking Women soldiers search women for weapons

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan ? Sgt. Nicola Hall knew something was amiss when the Muslim woman in her 60s, clad in a burkha, pushed her hands away as the military policewoman gently patted her down for weapons.

When Hall, 22, passed a metal-detecting wand over the woman?s body, it had gone crazy. During the pat down, she pulled out an AK-47 rifle automatic rifle strapped to the woman?s leg and 30 rounds of ammunition tucked under her breast.

?She started screaming; she lashed out at me,? Hall recalled. ?I said, ?Why did you hide these from me?? ?

The incident happened last week during Operation Champion Strike, an 82nd Airborne Division mission through the Bermel Valley of southeastern Afghanistan.

Although female soldiers don?t typically join infantry units during combat missions, Hall and another MP, Spc. Kristine Franc, both from the 21st Military Police Company of Fort Bragg, N.C., were there specifically to search Muslim women.

While soldiers searched the men and male children outdoors, the two MPs searched the women in a separate room indoors. Hall, whose unit was inspecting a shopping bazaar, conducted her searches in a doctor?s office.

Franc, 20, whose unit was inspecting a village, conducted her searches in a room in a house.

Hall and Franc cover their hair and faces during the searches. A doctor or village elder, a translator and an American guard are present, but all turn their backs.

Both MPs said the women they were searching didn?t know what to think of the situation.

?They were either scared, or they were absolutely amazed that I was out there,? Hall said.

?I don?t think they believed I was a female until I took my Kevlar (helmet) off,? Franc said.

The job is not new to either woman. Searches are a routine part of an MP?s job, and both deployed previously to Kosovo with their company. But Kosovo is a secular society, and few Muslim women there wear burkhas or other religious coverings.

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?...&article=10521
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Old 10-01-2002, 12:39 AM
theoddz theoddz is offline
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Default God bless 'em

....for being there.

Peace.
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