In Afghanistan, the actions and narratives of violent extremist groups threaten to roll back many of the gains and hard-won rights of women over the last fifteen years. Women have long been cast in a binary light—as either disempowered victims or deviant anomalies—but in fact are involved in a wide range of activities, from peacebuilding to recruiting, sympathizing, perpetrating, and preventing violent extremism. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews in the field in Afghanistan, this report delves into the roles women play in the context of violent extremism. A deeper understanding of these roles and the reasons behind them, the report asserts, is critical to effective policy and programming.
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