Kuwaiti women here are getting something they were never allowed back home - combat training.

Women are among 212 Kuwaiti army volunteers recruited by the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington. After a crash course in combat readiness, they'll return to the Middle East to join the fight against Iraq."It will be great to have both sexes participate in the war. I think women and men can do the same job," said Lt. Col. Jawad Saud, a member of the Kuwaiti army overseeing the training.

Eight Kuwaiti women were attached to the 91-member B Company during drills Tuesday. They crawled through barbed wire obstacle courses and practiced tossing grenades, zeroing in on makeshift bunkers and plastic targets.

"I'm tough; I'm just like the boys now," said Laio, a 20-year-old biology student at American University in Washington, D.C. "I don't want anyone to feel that because I'm a girl I have to be taken care of or scared in my own country."