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How to Discredit Afghan Women, Courtesy of the CIA

Wikileaks obtained and published (PDF) a CIA Red Cell analysis -- that’s what the agency presents either to counter received wisdom or to be deliberately

Jul 31, 2020
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Wikileaks obtained and published(PDF) a CIA “Red Cell” analysis — that’s what the agency presents either to counter received wisdom or to be deliberately provocative — on bolstering support for the Afghanistan war among skeptical European publics. (Hat tip to Jeremy Scahill.) Among the strategies employed: a cynical manipulation of the horror faced by Afghan women under the Taliban:
Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the ISAF role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF mission.
There is a general sense of unease among human rights activists about the future of Afghanistan if there’s a negotiated settlement of the war with Taliban elements, even despite the women’s rightsabuses perpetrated by the Karzai government and its allies. It’ll be the subject of what might be a fraught conference at the U.S. Institute of Peace next week. For anyone concerned about human rights, it’s a vexing, haunting question, and one that creates an increased need to listen to the voices of Afghan womenas they try to consolidate what gains they have made in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
This analysis, however, outlines a surefire way to cynically discreditthose voices precisely when they’re needed most. The easiest recourse to marginalization is to portray someone as a CIA stooge. “Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences,” the Red Cell analysis advises. What a disservice that would be to some of the bravest people on the planet, who’ve had to endure so much, to be used as a sales pitch for a war.
Hajra Shannon

Hajra Shannon

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Hajra Shannona is a highly experienced journalist with over 9 years of expertise in news writing, investigative reporting, and political analysis. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and has contributed to reputable publications focusing on global affairs, human rights, and environmental sustainability. Hajra's authoritative voice and trustworthy reporting reflect her commitment to delivering insightful news content. Beyond journalism, she enjoys exploring new cultures through travel and pursuing outdoor photography
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