Maliha Chishti

Transnational Feminism and the Women's Rights Agenda in Afghanistan

Globalization has invariably contributed to reconfiguring the international political landscape by enabling international nonstate actors to exert greater influence and decision-making capacities within the domestic affairs of states. New methods and systems of governance have emerged to transcend borders, linking states and nonstate actors in complex and interdependent relationships, from the supranational to the local level. In Afghanistan new patterns of authority and power are taking form, manifested by the unprecedented growth and entrenchment of international actors (donor governments, multinationals, the UN, the World Bank, and international NGOs) operating in the country to pick up where the state has ostensibly left off. These international networks are constructed as the long-awaited "corrective" to decades of conflict in Afghanistan and the former belligerent state practices of the Taliban government. Neoliberal marketization alongside immediate political democratization are the dominant blueprints for post-conflict recovery in Afghanistan, entailing an externally directed reordering and restructuring of the Afghan state. Integrally part of this new international apparatus is the transnational feminist movement advocating for gender reform as a sociopolitical corrective to the history of exclusion and oppression endured by Afghan women. 

Chapter in Globalizing Afghanistan: Terrorism, War, and the Rhetoric of Nation Building

The University of Chicago