The Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

TitleThe Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMcBride, Keally, and Annick T. R. Wibben
Date Published07/2012

In this essay, the authors argue that looking at the gendering of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan provides insight into the assumptions, strategies, and anxieties about the U.S. involvement in this particular war. They see in the gendering of counterinsurgency, exemplified most strikingly in the deployment of female engagement teams (FETs), an attempt to reframe the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan as a humanitarian, even progressive, mission. Besides exploring how the operational objectives of the deployment of FETs are gendered, they pay particular attention to the signaling function of their deployment directed toward audiences in Afghanistan as well as citizens of the United States and its allies. Finally, they examine what the experience of women in female engagement teams reveals about how much U.S. military cultures are—or are not—changing.

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