Abdali wears a traditional Afghan headscarf under her helmet, but otherwise she is clad in an army uniform and heavy flak jacket just like the men. Her weapon and equipment is heavy, but she runs with it along the peaks of snow-covered mountains, unpaved roads under the hot summer sun and on rugged paths in remote areas of the country.
"Women must show their bravery and power by carrying out this duty as men do," Abdali said as she loaded her weapon to take part in the drill.
"Move to your vehicles!" the unit commander shouted.
The unit ran from their formations to six armored vehicles and started toward the target. Along the way, the commander repeated a description of the house where the Taliban leader was believed to be hiding and instructed the unit on how to surround it and arrest the suspect.
The special forces soldiers crawled on the snow-covered ground up to the house.
"You have no place to hide. Please surrender yourself," one soldier shouted.
When the target didn't respond, he repeated his command. Again, the target did not respond.
"Attack," the commander shouted.
After a gun battle, four or five special forces soldiers entered the house and secured the area. The female soldiers then went in and escorted the women and children outside.
Abdali questioned two ladies and three small boys after they were shepherded to safety. She was trying to collect information to help her team while keeping them busy and distracting them from the violence.
The men in her unit see the benefits of having the female special forces at their side.
Agha Sharin Noori, an Afghan special forces soldier who has served in the unit for two and half years, said, "In a military operation, we need our sisters as much as we need our brothers."
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