Women in Combat, in Their Own Words

Long before the Pentagon’s announcement, women were already embedded in the front lines of Afghanistan. All-female Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) served a unique purpose to engage with women and children on the ground, and to gather valuable intelligence—but these women soldiers were also in the thick of combat situations. What can we learn from their experiences? The Atlantic interviewed some of these women and gathered their thoughts on parity within the military, the unique qualifications of female soldiers, and what they would say to dissenters to the decision to allow women in combat roles.