Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 09/2014

Women and Girls in the Afghanistan Transition

Catherine Powell

June 2014

Council on Foreign Relations


Although Afghan women and girls have made strides in education, the economy, health care, politics, and broader civil society since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, these advances remain fragile. As Afghanistan transitions to a new presidency and the drawdown of U.S. troops continues through 2016, now is the time for the United States to take action, in coordination with Afghanistan and its partners, to cement and extend gender-equality gains, close the gaps, and prevent reversal. Despite a decreasing military footprint in Afghanistan, the United States has a unique ability and obligation to continue supporting Afghan efforts to improve women's security and leadership opportunities through diplomacy, defense, and development aid.