The August 9 edition of Time featured a cover photo of an Afghan woman who had her nose chopped off, along with the headline: “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan.” The implication was that, despite the increasing unpopularity of the war, the U.S. should continue the fight. As independent as Time may be, their position and timing fit in perfectly with the strategy proposed in a March CIA document that was released by WikiLeaks.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, George Tenet, the director of the CIA, created a “Red Cell” “that would think unconventionally about the full range of relevant analytic issues.”
After the collapse of the Netherlands
’ government in February of this year over the issue of Dutch troops in Afghanistan, the CIA Red Cell issued a memorandum that explored strategies to shore up support for the war in other NATO nations. Polling has shown that women in Germany and France are less likely to support the continuing fight in Afghanistan than men. So, among the suggestions in the memo was this one: “Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the ISAF [NATO-led International Security Assistance Force] role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory…. Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences.”