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AFGHANISTAN: Female Marines provide 'access to half the population'


Marines in Afghanistan are now using a strategy deemed successful in Iraq: an all-female unit to inter-act with women and children.

The 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment has begun to use the unit as it deploys into villages in hopes of winning hearts and minds. Cultural taboos would largely keep male Marines from speaking to Afghan women and girls.

The female Marines give the U.S. "access to half the population that we normally do not have access to," said Capt. Mike Hoffman, a company commander with Three-Eight.

On their first mission, the women wore head scarves as a sign of cultural respect, Marines said.

"If the women know we are here to help them, they will likely pass that on to their children," said 2nd Lt. Johanna Shaffer, the team leader.

— Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marine 2nd Lt. Johanna Shaffer with an Afghan girl. Credit: Marine Corps

Comments () | Archives (4)

The US is realizing that traditional warfare is not going to work in this side of the world. The Afghan people have endured years and years of war which has left the country in tatters. They have little to loose. The Russians were not able to overtake Afghanistan because of it's terrain and climate. Too brutal. Remember: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

I admire you all.

What a great and smart decision to use our female Marines in this way. I'm sure that the more woman involved in every aspect of society will surely improve the world in many ways. God bless our soldiers, one and all. And although many of us were always against the war in Iraq, we have always appreciated the situation that our brave soldiers were put in. Good job Marines!

I was a Marine in the 70's -it was very hard for us women but we persevered... we didn't face the harassment the other branches had for the most part. Marines follow orders and the men were ordered to treat us as equals. We women learned we had to be twice as good to be considered equal though. It's nice to see WM's recognized. Semper fi, women!


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