Since 2001, members of the U.S. military and Afghan communities have been living alongside each other as part of the international political intervention and military campaign Operation Enduring Freedom. A schism occurred between Afghan societies in relation to this involvement, which in turn produced relationships between foreign troops and Afghan civilians, the state apparatus and insurgents. An international discourse of propaganda using gender as a tool surrounded the conflict and attempted to justify the presence of foreign militaries in Afghanistan by framing the U.S. as rescuers, liberating Afghan victims from Afghan oppressors. A counterinsurgency doctrine was developed after Afghanistan resisted the international hegemonic vision for the country, asking troops to battle for the hearts and minds of Afghans. U.S. troop’s reflections about their experiences in Afghanistan reveal a division in how these roles and relationships are imagined in the propaganda and doctrine and how they are experienced by the U.S. military’s service members. The relationship with Afghan communities is problematized and given context in this project as remembered and perceived by the U.S. troops. Representations were deconstructed and reconstructed by the troops revealing the perception of themselves and Afghans, the roles of the groups and the impact of foreign military presence in Afghanistan. Their identities develop while attempting to encourage hegemonic visions in the uniform of a foreign military other. U.S. troops perceptions are heavily influenced by media, propaganda and discourse, yet the reflections on their own experiences often question and challenge the realities of relationships between Afghans and themselves, blurring the lines between liberation and occupation.
Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies
MA in Gender & Women's Studies
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Terrell, Jennifer Yvette
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
United States -- Armed Forces -- Afghanistan.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Afghanistan -- Social conditions.
The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.
Approval has been obtained for this item
(2013).B is for burka, C is for counterinsurgency: US troops experiences of and with Afghan society [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Cosette, Sarah. B is for burka, C is for counterinsurgency: US troops experiences of and with Afghan society. 2013. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.