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When AnnaMaria Cardinalli’s explosive United States military report on the topic of sexuality in southern Afghanistan was leaked to mainstream American media, it generated a firestorm of attention and reaction. While some of the findings regarding Afghan sexual practices are simply of cultural interest, other findings raise grave humanitarian issues, such as the cyclical abuse of young boys, perpetuated over countless generations.
In Crossing the Wire, Cardinalli invites readers to share her rare experiences working on the farthest front of the War on Terror as a female member of one of the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System teams in the Pashtun-inhabited southern region. Cardinalli opens an intimate window into the fascinating and almost surreal difficulty of our military’s job in that country, and the indispensable place of a woman’s hand in the world of war.
From women’s rights to Afghanistan’s economic development and security to the recruitment for and development of terrorism worldwide, Afghan sexuality has profound and disturbing consequences on many aspects of life. Cultural sexism is not simply the province of Central Asians; it’s also present in our own politico-military culture.
This book goes far beneath the headlines of our seemingly endless war in Afghanistan to inform us of the exact situation with the opposition, in more important ways than one. It is a must-read for every citizen concerned with our—or the Afghan people’s—progress henceforth in that region.