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Since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, violence against women has emerged as the single most important issue for Afghan gender politics. The Pitfalls of Protection,
based on research conducted in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2015, locates the struggles over gender violence in local and global power configurations. The author finds that aid flows and geopolitics have served as both opportunities and obstacles to feminist politics in Afghanistan. Showing why Afghan activists often chose to use the leverage of Western powers instead of entering into either protracted negotiations with powerful national actors or broad political mobilization, the book examines both the achievements and the limits of this strategy.
Torunn Wimpelmann is a researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute.
The Pitfalls of Protection is an important contribution to the field of gendered change in Afghanistan. Torunn Wimpelmann provides detailed description and analysis of the processes of gendered law-making in a space contested by local, national, and indeed global actors and explains and analyzes deeply unjust and violent infractions on women’s bodies and lives while keeping a respectful distance and avoiding dramatization. Wimpelmann has written an excellent book."—Jelke Boesten, author of Sexual Violence in War and Peace: Gender, Power and Postconflict Justice in Peru and Intersecting Inequalities: Women and Social Policy in Peru
"This lucid, meticulously researched and immensely readable book deftly guides the reader through the maze of contradictions that mark the politics of gender in Afghanistan. It vividly captures the fluid and fragmented nature of the political terrain upon which women’s rights are being contested. Essential reading for those with an interest in Afghanistan, gender, gender-based violence and post- conflict governance."—Deniz Kandiyoti, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London