Gender and the Development Battlefield in Afghanistan: Nation Builders versus Nation Betrayers
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 30, Number 2, 2010
- pp. 250-261
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This article challenges claims to neutrality and impartiality of aid interventions in Afghanistan, arguing that the war on terror intrudes on postconflict peace building and reconstruction interventions in Afghanistan, specifically in the southern and eastern parts of the country where a virulent insurgency has reemerged. In these regions, aid interventions are deeply entangled in active insurgent and counterinsurgent politics as aid settings are often used to wage ideological, cultural, and political campaigns over Afghans in order to demonstrate victory. This article argues that Afghan women are caught on the frontlines of this "aid battlefield," both as "nation builders" celebrated by the U.S. administration as examples of liberal-imperial victory and as "nation betrayers" of their culture and traditions for their participation in internationally facilitated programs. I suggest that feminists need to be aware and wary of the ways that aid projects are co-opted by foreign and local militarized masculinities that collectively perpetuate insecurity and violence against Afghan women.