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Afghan women influence Europeans

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4 August 2010 13:51

It's been interesting to watch the apparent resonance of TIME's front cover of a shockingly mutilated Afghan woman. It seems to support the analysis offered in this CIA Red Cell report posted on Wikileaks in March.

The report discusses the prospect of the French and Germans following the Dutch lead in bailing out of Afghanistan and uses the results from government and publicly available opinion polls to suggest clever (if Machiavellian) ways to help shore up public support for the Afghanistan mission in Europe. The final section of the report notes:

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.

  • According to INR polling in the fall of 2009, French women are 8 percentage points less likely to support the mission than are men, and German women are 22 percentage points less likely to support the war than are men.
  • Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences. (C//NF)

This year's Lowy Poll also found Australian women were more likely than men to oppose Australia's military involvement in Afghanistan.

Photo by Flickr user The Advocacy Project, used under a Creative Commons license.

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