Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Which I Lose Sleep Worrying About Women And Girls In Afghanistan

There has been a recent increase in attacks on girls' schools in Afghanistan, presumably by either Taliban, or Taliban sympathizers. The picture of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is changing. We have a new general who is an expert on counter-insurgency. There seems to be a consensus that the Taliban forces are in Pakistan. If we are going to change tactics, what does that mean for Afghan civilians? What does this mean as far as peacekeeping forces are concerned? The always interesting Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security says that we will see a drop in civilian casualties along with the change in strategy.

What I want to know is, will there be more protection for Afghan women and girls, or less? The Feminist Majority advocates for more peacekeeping forces. Dr. Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission just spent a week in Washington reminding the administration that human rights, particularly women's rights, must be part of the new strategy.

Sometime ago, I remember, or I think I remember, a guy that Rachel interviewed, who said something about giving up on winning in Afghanistan, and starting to smuggle out the women and girls. Anybody else recall this? It was one of those solar plexus collapsing moments for me.

When it comes to very, very complicated national security issues, I really miss Rachel's AAR show, where she went into great detail about such things as Afghanistan strategy. I need information from a source I trust! Is there another person on AAR that spends a lot of time on military issues?

ETA: Sometimes the video clip does not play, just often enough to make me crazy. I'm not sure where I'm going wrong. I apologize for the annoyance.


  1. The attacks on women and girls are disgusting - few things make me angrier. Which is why the Afghanistan situation is so conflicting for me.

    Rachel has debated a valid point in the past that counterinsurgency is a smart tactic that may offer the best hope for winning, such as it is, but the cost might be too high to try at all. (Exum discussed that segment on Abu Muqawama as well: But if we abandon the counterinsurgency plan and pull out, what happens to those women and girls?

    I wish Rachel would tackle McChrystal's human rights record. I like reading Andrew Sullivan's blog at The Atlantic (, and he's been hammering away at McChrystal and allegations of torture. But for all Sullivan's conservativism, and as firmly anti-torture as Rachel is, I find that she's much more level-headed when it comes to military issues and the torture debate.

  2. I am going to check out the Sullivan posts on McChrystal's human rights recoed. Thanks for pointing it out Yank.