Ending the war in Afghanistan

Deadline set for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

  • Military and diplomatic officials here and in Washington said that despite attempts to engage directly with Taliban leaders this year, they now expect that any significant progress will come only after 2014, once the bulk of NATO troops have left
  • The once ambitious American plans for ending the war are now being replaced by the far more modest goal of setting the stage for the Afghans to work out a deal among themselves in the years after most Western forces depart, and to ensure Pakistan is on board with any eventual settlement.
  • The Obama administration defends the deadline of 2014 as crucial to persuading the Afghan government and military to assume full responsibility for the country, and politically necessary for Americans weary of what has already become the country’s longest war. » The full New York Times article – By Matthew Rosenberg and Rod Nordland – October 1, 2012.

2009 – Afghan Enclave Offers Model to Rebuild, and Rebuff Taliban

girl's school Jurm Afganistan » Image source Holly Pickett for The New York Times

  • Villagers and development workers had to persuade a local mullah to get a girls’ school built in the Jurm District of Afghanistan.
  • Jurm was tormented by warlords in the 1990s, and though it never fell to the Taliban, the presence of the central government, even today, is barely felt. The idea to change that was simple: people elected the most trusted villagers, and the government in Kabul, helped by foreign donors, gave them direct grants — money to build things like water systems and girls’ schools for themselves.
  • But forcing conditions would have violated a basic principle of the approach: never start a project that is not backed by all members of the community, or it will fail.
    “People have to be mentally ready,” said Akhtar Iqbal, Aga Khan’s director in Badakhshan. If they are not, the school or clinic will languish unused, a frequent problem with large-scale development efforts.
  • Today, many people have water taps, fields grow wheat and it is no longer considered shameful for a woman to go to a doctor. The full New York Times article » By Sabrina Tavernise

  • World Wise SchoolPerceptions – This activity is designed to help students understand that perceptions are influenced by personal experience and taste as well as cultural background.  Go to Building Society Lesson Worksheet.
  • WWS – World Wise School LessonStudents will recognize that a single observation can be misleading
    Young children often make assumptions and judgments about people based on quick impressions. For example, a little girl noticing a house with peeling paint and an unkempt yard told her aunt, “I bet the people who live in that house are ugly.” The girl had somehow learned to make assumptions about people she had never met based on her perception of their possessions. Go to this Building Society Lesson Worksheet.
  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Exploring the Intersection of Religion and Modernity
    Overview: Students examine the ways in which various religious faiths have responded to social, ideological, and technological changes in ‘modern’ times. Go to this Building Society Lesson.

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LFS Lessons are sponsored by The Learning Foundation an American non-profit organization which has developed programs to encourage independent thinking for over 30 years. The Foundation also has a training center and a reforestation project on an 8 acre site in the Northeast of Thailand. My name is Keerock Rook and I have been involved with the Foundation since its inception. I edit most of the lessons.