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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaWomen’s rights and the US’s ‘civilising’ mission in Afghanistan

Women’s rights and the US’s ‘civilising’ mission in Afghanistan

Author: Belen Fernandez

Affiliation: Jacobin Magazine 

Organization /Publisher: Al Jazeera

Date/Place: August 21, 2021/ Doha, Qatar

Type of Literature: Opinion 

Word Count: 1429


Keywords: Women’s Rights, United States, Afghanistan


The author discusses the United States’s ‘civilizing mission’ in Afghanistan for ensuring women’s rights. The author quotes George W. Bush’s statement that “Afghan women and girls would suffer ‘unspeakable harm’ on account of the American departure”. But the plight of Afghan women at the hands of the Taliban is an easy excuse for the destruction caused by the US military.  The author details different instances of the US’ mission, which included “B-52 carpet bombing”, bombardment of a hospital in Kunduz by a Lockheed AC-130 gunship that decapitated medical staff and incinerated patients, and the US excusing itself in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’. The US’s orientalist ‘civilizing mission’ in Afghanistan is a continuation of old colonial rhetoric that becomes even more nauseating when observing the US’s track record of  uncivilized treatment of women worldwide. The West never grows weary of its civilizing missions that are tirelessly peddled by mainstream media and that recycle rhetoric to a public consciousness seemingly impervious to worldly reality. The author concludes that it is worth reflecting on the harm done to US women themselves by a patriarchal capitalist society that spends trillions of dollars on wars abroad – rather than on healthcare or childcare or anything else that might benefit the average woman or human. 


By: Razia Wadood, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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