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Open Access

Open Access


Pashtun women working for international NGOs and development organizations in Jalalabad Afghanistan balance the requirements of their employment with a set values, known as doing pashto, that guide their behavior as Pashtuns. These two influences on their lives are often contradictory. Based on fieldwork in Jalalabad, this study suggests that Pashtun women working for such organizations do not overtly resist Pashtun norms that often enforce a strict segregation of women. Rather, they use strategic ambiguity, maintaining that they are performing pashto well while at the same time taking part in some work activities that on the surface appear contrary to the norms of pashto.