Freedom on the Frontlines

Afghan Women and the Fallacy of Liberation

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About the Book

Afghan women were at the forefront of global agendas in late 2001, fueled by a mix of media coverage, humanitarian intervention and military operations. Calls for “liberating” Afghan women were widespread. Women’s roles in Afghanistan have long been politically divisive, marked by struggles between modernization and tradition. Women, politics, and the state have always been intertwined in Afghanistan, and conflicts have been fueled by attempts to challenge or change women’s status.

It may appear that we have come full circle twenty years later, in late 2021, when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban once more. Women’s rights in Afghanistan have been stripped away, and any gains—however tenuous—now appear lost. Today, the country navigates both a humanitarian and a human rights crisis. This book measures the rhetoric of liberation and the physical and ideological occupations of Afghanistan over the twenty-year period from 2001 through 2021 through the voices, perspectives, and experiences of those who are implicated in this reality—Afghan women.

About the Author(s)

Lina AbiRafehis a global women’s rights expert, advisor and former aid worker with a decades-long track record in creating positive change for women in more than 20 countries around the world.  She speaks and publishes frequently on her experiences. She lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Lina AbiRafeh
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 322
Bibliographic Info: 48 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8942-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4719-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Chapter 1. The Story of “Liberation” for Afghan Women 11
Chapter 2. Where We Fit Is Where We Fight 36
Chapter 3. The Honor of the Nation 67
Chapter 4. Aid as Liberation? 89
Chapter 5. Democracy as Liberation? 120
Chapter 6. War Has Never Been Over for Them 150
Chapter 7. At the Feminist Interface 176
Chapter 8. Women’s Agency and Resistance 202
Chapter 9. Freedom Is Only Won from the Inside 228
Dari Terminology 247
Acronyms and Abbreviations 249
Chapter Notes 251
Bibliography 285
Index 309