The Weaponization of Nostalgia: How Afghan Miniskirts Became the Latest Salvo in the “war on Terror”

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Article published in The Funambulist 15 (January-February 2018) Clothing Politics #2. Click here to access the rest of the issue.

On August 21, 2017, Donald Trump announced that the United States would be extending its military occupation of Afghanistan, reversing a stance he has held for years demanding a rapid pull-out. Instead, the country will see a continuation of the endless war, a war that has left tens of thousands dead but which has failed miserably to achieve any of its goals, such as securing peace for the Afghan people.

Now, it looks like the war could be increasingly privatized — and Trump has shown interest in persuading Afghanistan’s government to clear the way for U.S. mining companies to exploit the country’s untapped mineral deposits (valued at $1 trillion) as payment. Like the Iraqi oil lootseized after the 2003 U.S. invasion, it is hard to imagine a more brazen form of armed robbery. How do miniskirts play into this picture?

U.S. national security adviser McMaster showed Donald Trump 1970s-era photographs of Afghan women wearing miniskirts in order to convince him to maintain the 16-year-long U.S. military presence in the country, the Washington Post reported this week.