10 February 2013

Is Afghanistan A Country Stuck in the 13th Century?

Mohammad Qayoumi, an Afghan-American Professor who is the President of San Jose State University, recently wrote about the common perception of his home land:
On a recent trip to Afghanistan, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox drew fire for calling it "a broken 13th-century country." The most common objection was not that he was wrong, but that he was overly blunt. He's hardly the first Westerner to label Afghanistan as medieval. Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince recently described the country as inhabited by "barbarians" with "a 1200 A.D. mentality." Many assume that's all Afghanistan has ever been -- an ungovernable land where chaos is carved into the hills. Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages.   
He said that the country in which he grew up was nothing like that. And provided some pictures from that era. You can see all of them in the article to which I linked (or if you don't want to subscribe to Foreign Policy, here is an alternate Web site).

As I found them fascinating, let me show you a small sample.

Pencil skirts and record stores in Kabul.

Student nurses at Maternity Hospital.

Biology Class at Kabul University

City playground

A modern Textile factory

Sarobi hydro-electric dam

Kabul at night

Store windows

These pictures are certainly very different from what we normally see, namely this:

I sometimes wonder if Charlie Wilson's war was worth it.

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