This article explores the juncture of gender and collecting memory in the context of
Afghanistan and establishing accountability for past atrocities. After situating Afghan
women in the context of past wars, it examines two projects in truth-telling following
the ousting of the Taliban and what was termed as the transitional period. Providing
a critical analysis, it argues that recalling and telling of the past from the bottomup
approach has done little to break the prevailing culture of impunity and address
the motivation of victims in participating and contributing to memory projects. By
promoting truth-telling and giving meaning to collecting memory, the international
community has focused on the production rather than representation of memory.
Production for the external market rather than localised confrontation with the past
to alleviate trauma has led to an increasing commoditisation of memory. As a result,
women’s representation in relation to past wars have remained marginalised as
victims. In conclusion, the article positions silence as a tool of local resistance to an
ever-increasing popularisation in the globalised markets of memory and truth-telling.