Afghanistan has appointed its first woman to a senior post at the Interior Ministry, naming Hosna Jalil as deputy for policy and strategic affairs.
Following her appointment ceremony on Wednesday, Jalil said she relished the challenges of the job.
Afghan women have forged ahead since the 2001 collapse of the Taliban regime, which denied girls the right to go to school and women the right to work.
With their rights guaranteed under the constitution, they have become lawmakers and joined the workforce.
Jalil says her appointment sends a message to the radical religious movement that "this is a winning story for the government of Afghanistan ... having a woman in the security sector."
She added: "I think it delivers a message, the entire message."
Meanwhile, NATO foreign ministers reaffirmed Wednesday their commitment to remain in the country despite mounting Afghan casualties and the slow pace of peace moves.
At talks in Brussels, the ministers underlined their "steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability," reaffirming that NATO's mission in the insurgency-wracked country will last as long as conditions demand it.
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