Finding the silver(ish) lining in Afghanistan's Emerald City

Afghanistan: We Don’t Need No Education, or I Learn Something from the PAO

English: Original caption: "Kabul is serv...

It's eerie how much Kabul still looks just...like...this.

I love days like this. The sun is shining, there’s the bite of winter in the air. I just passed a cat on the street that used to be white-ish, but now is several shades of gray. This is due in large part to the booming metropolis that is Kabul: in a city of 5 million that’s designed for 500,000, rest assured we’re all getting our daily dose of carbon and then some. It’s…refreshing.

Then, on a day such as this, as beautiful as it is, a wonderful bonus – I learned something about how Female Engagement Teams (FETs) are reaching out to the Afghan populace:

One of those ways involves reaching out to the local female populace through education. However, education – particularly education for females – is taboo.

Here all along I’ve been thinking that education is just inaccessible, and that’s why there’s such a massive literacy problem in Afghanistan. Turns out, I’ve been wrong all along. It’s not that they can’t go to school, they don’t want to go to school. At all. It’s taboo. Sure, “Taliban” means “student,” but only of terror. Nothing else. No need for education here.

So take that, Afghan Analysts Network and your report on Taliban supporting schools. Take that, Bagch-e-SimSim and your attempts to reach Afghan children through television, however some might view it as somewhat misguided. Minister Farouk Wardak? You can forget trying to get those teachers trained.

Thank you, Roger Waters and Co.: “Teacher, leave them kids alone.”

Today’s learning moment has been brought to you by the Public Affairs Office in conjunction with the USMCs Female Engagement Teams. With this kind of deep insight into the actual Afghan psyche, 2014 is going to be a breeze.

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4 Responses »

  1. Wow. Really Dude? I love most of your stuff, but this one is way off kilter. What does someone in Kabul know about the workings of FET programs in Helmand (where the Marines are)? In rural populations far outside of the bustle of cities built for 500,000 people, it is, in fact, taboo for females to receive an education.

  2. Well, when you get ten years of “education for females [was] is forbidden by the Taliban” then, that’s the established narrative and the ONLY narrative. Just like all the idiot comments on all the news sites yesterday: yeah, the Taliban “caused” 9/11, so it’s great when American Marines piss on their corpses. Somehow, the nuance of “giving sanctuary” to one of the Afghan Arabs, gee, *gets lost on the general public* imagine!

    • I was a little surprised at that statement via PAO. There actually is a growing interest in education here, and it’s not that they’re anti-education, they’re anti-Kabul. And, since Kabul builds the schools, it gets…complicated. Mildly.

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