The Taliban’s problem

When we read about the war in Afghanistan, we almost always read about it from the US point of view – duh! – or a Marines point of view, or a NGO peace workers point of view.

A couple of days ago, I read a blog in the NY Times (it is amazing how much good stuff is in the Times, I wonder, and not in a good way, where it will go after the Times folds – if it doesn't just disappear) that talked about why the Taliban are such poor shots. And it sort of talked about it , inadvertently, I think, from the Afghans point of view. Among a long list of problems like having and using equipment in poorly maintained condition, relying on automatic fire rather than aiming, using mismatched and bad ammunition, was

a matter of public health. Many Afghans suffer from
uncorrected vision problems, which have roots in factors ranging from
poor childhood nutrition to the scarcity of medical care.

Sunday afternoon, while the rain feel all afternoon, I watched Afghan Star

The two of them, together, left me with an almost overwhelming feeling of how poor Afghanistan really is. Not We have no doctors, poor. but We have no good sanitation poor. Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on Earth. So poor, most of the adult population can't see very well.

And there is a huge minority of the Afghan population that is afraid to move away from that poverty,. Afraid that they will lose more than they will gain. Maybe they are right – they will lose community, they will lose their convictions and answers – I don't think they are right to be afraid, but, then, I've eaten from the apple a long time ago. I am biased.

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