Clarie Russo on women's roles in Afghanistan (video)

Empowering Local Village Elders and Women in Afghanistan

April 7, 2010

ISW was pleased to host US Army civilian advisor, Claire Russo, for a thought-provoking discussion on women and tribal roles in Afghanistan.



Key points from the event:

  • The US military and its coalition partners are now realizing how it will be almost impossible to win the counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan if they ignore half of the population – women.
  • Female Engagement Teams (FET), used in different ways by the US Army and Marines, are force multipliers on the battlefield. Unfortunately, due to the ad hoc nature of organizing FETs, training is limited for women who volunteer for these positions. More attention is needed to build a professional force.
  • Despite the cultural misconceptions, Afghan women are key influencers in their homes and should be a vital partner for US forces. The women observe the population, know who the outsiders are and have a proven tactical benefit when engaged. *

Read more from ISW contributor, Claire Russo, at the Small Wars Journal.

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