Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cutting Women in the Forgotten Province

Michael Yon on an out-of-the-way corner of Afghanistan, Cutting Women in the Forgotten Province

Read him all, but he concludes,
The war has reached its military apogee. We are looking for a way to land that doesn’t include crashing. We must face the reality that building Afghanistan to any level of modernity will require a century. The hand that rocks the cradle is illiterate yet thirsty for knowledge. Recently, as Bashir and I drove deep into the Dasht-e-Margo (Desert of Death), we passed through a village on the Helmand River. Two small girls looked at us driving through, and Bashir said, “They are future housewives.” In village after village the people waved and smiled. The children of Nimruz Province need schools. The girls and women desperately need education. The governor, police chief, and many others have welcomed our presence. As we reduce our footprint in Afghanistan, we should consider shifting away from expending efforts in dangerous areas in order to invest in the permissive districts.

When I visited the women’s project last year, a woman pleaded that the effort continue. She sounded as if she had been released from a prison and didn’t want to go back. Now sits a pile of fabric, and the sewing machines were covered with so much dust that you couldn’t see the paint. And there was a basket of dusty scissors. I dumped the scissors in the sun for a photograph, and asked Bashir what became of the women’s program. Was it cut? “Yes, it was cut,” Bashir answered. “It was very sad. It was a great program and the women loved it.”
The US did the Military surge but has not followed-up with the civilian surge. That's going to turn out to be a very great loss.

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