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Meanwhile in Afghanistan
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 18, 2006

An interesting article about what the Taliban is now targeting:
Education Minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar says attacks have closed more than 208 schools — including 144 burned down — in the past year as militants changed tactics to hit soft targets. By some estimates, attacks have increased six-fold over 2005.

"Over the past couple of months, the enemy of this nation has been targeting our kids in schools, our schools and our teachers," Atmar says.

"They know that education is about the future of our people. They know that education is about democracy, about true Islam, and about prosperity in Afghanistan. The main reason is killing the future, the future of Afghanistan.

"Because they cannot now face our national army and national police ... there's been a significant change of tactics."
This is bottom line "hearts and minds" stuff. Frankly I find this to be an encouraging bit of news.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that this doesn't mean the Taliban has abandoned its assault on the government, but it does point to a realization that the government's success in building and staffing schools which will educate the next generation is indeed a threat to them. They no longer enjoy the monopoly of selective information they once had when they controlled the country.

The attempt is two-fold on the part of the Taliban. An effort to show up the government and make the point to the locals the government is too weak to protect them. Secondly to keep them poor, illiterate and dependent. The locals, however, are figuring it out:
"They want the people to be illiterate. They want to undermine society and cause conflict," says Hashim, standing outside the rebuilt, pale yellow Nawaqel Aria boys' school, where his 10-year-old son, Mohammad Nasir, is one of the 300 students.

At the village water pump a few metres away, students, who once learned under tents until the school opened a few months ago, are scared but defiant.

"I want to be a doctor. I don't care about anything else," says Baryalai Abdul Ghani, 14. "We will fight the warlords. I will use my pen, by writing a (job) application to the government."
One step at a time. Get them educated first. Then teach more dependence on themselves and the market and less on "applications to the government". But the defiance of the Taliban is both refreshing and important.
Hashim says the village is grateful for the school and for an education for their children: "But we didn't know it would be so scary."
The Taliban is intent on dragging them back to the middle ages. And that can't help but be "scary".
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The Taliban are doomed, DOOMED....Afghanistan Graveyard of Empire...Brutal Afghan Winter...Quagmire....
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When it’s quiet, everyone agrees.
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