S. Sabawoon / EPA
Colonel Jamila Bayaz, the newly appointed head of police, outside her office in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.
KABUL -- Afghanistan has appointed a 50-year-old mother-of-five as its first female police chief. Col. Jamila Bayaz said her appointment was a sign of progress in the violence-ravaged country.
"This is a chance not just for me, but for the women of Afghanistan," she told NBC News Wednesday. "I will not waste it. I will prove that we can handle this burden."
Despite being one of 2,000 female police officers in the country, Bayaz is the first to be promoted to such a senior rank. She will head up the 1st District of Kabul, one of the most important areas of the Afghan capital.
"I want to thank America and the international community for all of their help and support. I would not be here today if it weren't for all of their assistance," she said.
"My children are worrying about me, but I am optimistic that I will stay safe."
Kabul's provincial police chief, Major General Mohammad Zahir Zahir, expressed his happiness and said Bayaz's promotion was a "wise step taken" by the interior ministry, during a small ceremony at her police station.
Zahir added that the promotion proved women had a vital role outside of their homes. "Women are capable of working like men," he said.
Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said Bayaz's making police chief was the first step in promoting women within the police ranks.
"We will we see a female Provincial Police Chief in the near future," he said.
NBC News’ Akbar Shinwari contributed to this report.