Peace Corps Afghanistan

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(Peace Corps Afghanistan)

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1969: RPCVs remember Peace Corps Volunteer Henry Farrar who died while serving in Afghanistan in December, 1969 at Age 23

The cause of death was deemed to be Accident-motor vehicle. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Dayton Daily News. "Henry Farrar Served In Afghanistan And Died In December, 1969." December 13, 1969.


1974: RPCVs remember Peace Corps Volunteer Denise Blake who died while serving in Afghanistan in May, 1974 at Age 24

The cause of death was deemed to be Accident-drowning. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Dayton Daily News. "Denise Blake Served In Afghanistan And Died In May, 1974." May 31, 1974.


1974: Afghanisan Peace Corps Volunteer Denise Blake had gone fishing with her husband, also a volunteer, and according to the Peace Corps, she "slipped on rocks into rapids while fishing."

Denise Blake's family, according to Peace Corps records, questioned the official explanation. The deaths of Bahler and Blake, like the deaths of other volunteers, were not thoroughly investigated by local police. Blake said he was never interviewed by police about the circumstances of his wife's death, and Follstad said he doesn't recall police questioning any of the 20 to 30 volunteers who were on the scene when Bahler disappeared. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Dayton Daily News. "Mystery Deaths" May 31, 1974.


1993: My Body Is My Own Business - Why one woman wears the Burka

I OFTEN wonder whether people see me as a radical, fundamentalist Muslim terrorist packing an AK-47 assault rifle inside my jean jacket. Or may be they see me as the poster girl for oppressed womanhood everywhere. I'm not sure which it is. I get the whole gamut of strange looks, stares, and covert glances. You see, I wear the hijab, a scarf that covers my head, neck, and throat. I do this because I am a Muslim woman who believes her body is her own private concern. Young Muslim women are reclaiming the hijab, reinterpreting it in light of its original purpose to give back to women ultimate control of their own bodies. The Qur'an teaches us that men and women are equal, that individuals should not be judged according to gender, beauty, wealth, or privilege. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The True Religon. "My Body Is My Own Business" June 29, 1993.


1999: Afghanistan RPCV Branwen Adams-Denton works in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology

Branwen Adams-Denton '67, a new member, writes: "After ACS, I attended Bryn Mawr College sporadically until 1978, when I finally managed to get my BA. During the intervening years, I did a stint in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, and taught school in Morocco and Saudi Arabia. After graduation, I taught in Iran and in Saudi again. In 1981, I went be to BMC, where I earned an MA in 1984 and a PhD in 1991, both in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology. Most of my research during graduate school and thereafter has concentrated on artifacts dating to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC from the Persian Gulf. I do most of my work in Bahrain. In 1993, I was the Assistant Director of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan. In 1994-1995, I was Fulbright Professor of Archaeology at the National University of Bahrain. 1996-1997 was spent as Professor of ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology at the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Changchun, P.R. China. At the present time, I am working as a waitress and finishing up my analysis of the pottery from the French excavation on Bahrain for which I am an official consultant. I have a 22-year old daughter who models in New York. In January, I am planning to take a course leading to a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, in Istanbul. Who knows what will happen after that?" Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Alumni Newsletter of the American Community School of Beirut, Lebanon. "Branwen Adams-Denton '67, A New Member, Writes: "After Acs, I Attended Bryn Mawr College Sporadically Until 1978, When I Finally Managed To Get My Ba. During The Intervening Years, I Did A Stint In The Peace Corps In Afghanistan, And Taught School In Morocco And Saudi Arabia. After Graduation, I Taught In Iran And In Saudi Again. In 1981, I Went Be To Bmc, Where I Earned An Ma In 1984 And A Phd In 1991, Both In Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology. Most Of My Research During Graduate School And Thereafter Has Concentrated On Artifacts Dating To The Middle Of The 2nd Millennium Bc From The Persian Gulf. I Do Most Of My Work In Bahrain. In 1993, I Was The Assistant Director Of The American Center Of Oriental Research (Acor) In Amman, Jordan. In 1994-1995, I Was Fulbright Professor Of Archaeology At The National University Of Bahrain. 1996-1997 Was Spent As Professor Of Ancient Near Eastern History And Archaeology At The Institute For The History Of Ancient Civilizations, Changchun, P.r. China. At The Present Time, I Am Working As A Waitress And Finishing Up My Analysis Of The Pottery From The French Excavation On Bahrain For Which I Am An Official Consultant. I Have A 22-Year Old Daughter Who Models In New York. In January, I Am Planning To Take A Course Leading To A Certificate In Teaching English As A Foreign Language, In Istanbul. Who Knows What Will Happen After That?"" March 1, 1999.


2000: Sherlock's French Files by Richard T. Gannon, Afghanistan RPCV

Like Dr. Watson, I, too, served in Afghanistan, but not in the military corps, rather, in the American Peace Corps, prior to their terrible war with the Russian imbeciles and prior to serving in the Peace Corps in Mali, French West Africa. Having worked in Afghanistan and the former French Sudan in French West Africa, I speak Pushtu, French and Bambara, in addition to English. In Afghanistan, Pushtu is a beautiful language of the nomads that I learned. Like Pushtu, Peuhl of Africa is also a nomadic language, the most beautiful language on Earth. It is spoken by nomads in Mali and across the African Sudan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Tutt Group. "Sherlock's French Files By Richard T. Gannon, Afghanistan Rpcv" June 28, 2000.


2000: Thomas Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer

Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He returned to the United States in 1967 and earned a master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Indiana University. In 1969 he went back to Afghanistan as a Fulbright Scholar. He stayed on to work for the Fulbright Foundation’s Afghan-American Education Commission after the conclusion of his two-year fellowship. In 1974 Gouttierre became director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has become the leading institution for Afghan studies in this country. Gouttierre has testified on the Afghan War before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations and the U.S.-Russian Task Force on Regional Conflicts. He also has appeared before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly and the Norwegian Sorting and the United Nations. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: BGSU. "Thomas Gouttierre Went To Afghanistan In 1964 As A Peace Corps Volunteer" June 29, 2000.


2001: Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes Reports on Life in the Trenches

"The foreign press corps in Kosovo didn't do our job; we sat on the border," NPR's Sarah Chayes told our group of 11 graduate students about to begin 10-week residencies abroad at various sites, including the Associated Press in Jerusalem. Chayes, an American, did freelance radio pieces for six years before NPR hired her to be their sole Paris-based correspondent three years ago. She said she can't imagine doing anything else, but journalism wasn't her first career choice. "I really wanted to work in the public prosecutor's office in Kansas City," she said. It's lonely to be a bureau of one, Chayes said. She has zero personal life. "There is no conceivable way I can have kids," she said. "I have tended to avoid journalists because I was afraid of the homogeneity of perspective," she added. Still, on the occasions she collaborated with a print reporter, she said she felt an intellectual explosion. Chayes told the broadcast students to avoid the tendency to structure a story before they've shot it. "Don't prepare," she said. "You should learn something when you go out reporting."� Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Inside Medill News. "Chayes Reports On Life In The Trenches" March 27, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan RPCV Joe Mamlin works in AIDS crisis in Kenya

Mamlin is on his 14th trip to Kenya, this time spending five years at the Moi Hospital after a so-called retirement from IU last year. He is a faculty member at the Indiana University School of Medicine and something of a local legend for his three-decade role in building the city’s respected indigent health care system. Among other accomplishments, Mamlin was instrumental in expanding primary health care out to neighborhood community health centers affiliated with Wishard and for helping create the IU Medical Group, which provides care to indigent and paying patients throughout the city. In "retirement," Mamlin serves as the on-site team leader of the IU School of Medicine’s partnership with the Moi University faculty of health science in Eldoret, Kenya. Mamlin’s presence on these hospital wards is just the latest product of a decade’s worth of collaboration between the schools. Since 1989, over 200 IU medical students, residents and faculty members have come to Eldoret as part of the program, with at least one full-time IU faculty member always on-site for at least a one-year term. Over 65 Kenyan faculty members and students, most on full fellowships or scholarships, have traveled to Indianapolis or to one of the other academic medical institutions like Brown and Wayne State that have followed IU’s lead into the project. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Nuvo. "“Dying Right In Our Hands”" May 31, 2001.


2001: Terry Dougherty's Afghanistan - Peace Corps Experiences

I have changed in many ways since this picture was taken. I will always be grateful for the opportunity of serving in the Peace Corps. Afghanistan, too, has gone through many changes. I pray for a return to peace in Afghanistan. These great people have suffered enough! Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: NBCI. "Terry Dougherty's Afghanistan - Peace Corps Experiences" June 28, 2001.


2001: Dave Wilson reflects on his Peace Corps assignment in Afghanistan

In January 1977, Wilson left the United States and began his Peace Corps assignment in Afghanistan. Although his family had expressed concerns about Wilson's leaving, Wilson said he didn't realize what he was getting himself into until he was on the plane that took him to the Peace Corps assignment. Wilson said he remembered sitting between two businessmen on the flight. Eventually, one of the men asked Wilson where he was going. When Wilson explained he had joined the Peace Corps, the man asked Wilson to stand up. "He announced where I was going and what I was going to do to everyone on the plane, and everyone stood up and applauded," Wilson said. "I was appalled." It was at that moment that Wilson realized he would be spending two full years away from home in a completely foreign place. After two months of training and a short period of teaching English in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, a Peace Corps teaching position opened in a province. Wilson applied for the position and got the job. He taught English at a boys' high school. Although he was respected by the students and other teachers, he said he was often lonely. Wilson decided to take action. "I was sitting in the teacher's office one day, and I decided I was literally going to pick a friend," Wilson said. So he did. Wilson began to bicycle home with another teacher after school each day. Eventually, Wilson said, he and that teacher became good friends. Later, Wilson became close to that teacher's entire family. Then, communists took over Afghanistan in 1979, and Wilson's life, as well as the lives of everyone around him, changed completely. Because he was an American, Wilson was looked at suspiciously as an outsider. "I was pulled off my bike and questioned with a gun to my head or my stomach," Wilson said. Worse, Wilson said, was that his new friends were tortured because of their association with him. Still, they remained his friends. "They always took me in as one of thei r own," Wilson said. Despite the danger and violence all around him, Wilson was able to find beauty in his surroundings. He said the time he was able to spend on his own helped him realize who he wanted to be. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Student Advantage. "Dave Wilson Reflects On His Peace Corps Assignment In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.


2001: Peace Corps is not for whining, little wimps says Kata Alvidrez - Afghanistan RPCV

While I am a great admirer of Kennedy, I'm not sure that he truly believed that placing young Americans in developing countries was going to promote world peace. I'm not even sure he believed that the contributions we Peace Corps volunteers might make in our individual assignments would make a significant difference in the lives of the people we met in those countries. But I am sure, because Kennedy was a man of vision, that he believed living overseas and participating in the lives of people whose lives were different than ours would teach us something important about ourselves. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Iowa State. "In 1967, My Friends And I Were Protesting The Vietnam War With Peace Signs Hung Around Our Necks And Sewn To Our Ragged Bellbottoms." June 28, 2001.


2001: The Peace Corps provided us with the necessities of life in Afghanistan

A stove--it ran on kerosene which flowed to the wicks under the burners. A metal box placed on top of the burners made an adequate oven. A brick inside the oven made the oven around 325 degrees, remove the brick and it was around 400. We baked rolls, cookies, and the occasional casserole. Meat was usually pan fried or grilled. A local carpenter built a custom cabinet for me--probably the only time in my life I'll have a custom kitchen! Under the cabinet is the oven, described above. From "robber barons," merchants in Kabul who bought items "off the truck," we were able to get specialty items such as soy sauce. The large basin is the kitchen sink. We heated water on the stove, and poured the dirty water out through a drain in the floor that exited through a pipe that protruded from the wall. The other piece of custom furniture we had built was a wooden seat for days when we didn't want to squat. The Guiness Book of World Records on the table provided good companionship when we weren't in the best of health. Ashes from the wood stove could be shoveled down the hole to keep the room pleasant and fresh. The outhouse itself was a few steps from our back door--up a few steps which, in the winter, could be a bit treacherous. To many people this system may sound primitive--but it worked and was truly organic. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Thinker. "The Peace Corps Provided Us With The Necessities Of Life In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.


2001: Nick Hoesl first served with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in the 1960s

Brunch host Nick Hoesl is a retired pharmacist, author of The First Humorously Medical Dictionary (Vantage Press, 1997, $10.95, soon to be revised) and lifelong choral singer. Hoesl first served with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in the 1960s. On Sunday, he was stationed near his own front door to welcome a dozen other Peace Corps alumni of all ages, plus a few of their friends and relatives. Their international experiences range throughout the agency's 39-year history. A mix of foreign phrases and much laughter filled the room as old friends and new acquaintances compared notes on global adventures. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Cincinnati Post. "Peace Corps Vets Share Exotic Fare" June 28, 2001.


2001: The Peace Corps and the Making of a Rug Dealer by George S. O'Bannon

I am frequently asked, "How did an Irishman get in the oriental rug business?" Since I have an Irish surname rather than the more typical Armenian or Arab name, Americans associate with rug dealers, the question is usually asked after a period of conversation. I do not look Irish but more like the stereotypical Middle Eastern rug merchant. I was not raised with oriental rugs. My first exposure to them was in a job preceding the Peace Corps where I worked for a man who owned orientals and had them in his office. He loved to talk about them, what they were, how he acquired them in Egypt and Beirut and how he viewed them aesthetically, It so happened that his favorite rugs were Baluch. From this job I went to Afghanistan as Associate Director of the Peace Corps in February, 1966. As Associate Director, I was supervisor over approximately 80 Peace Corps volunteers in Afghanistan. Fortunately for me, most of the volunteers assigned to me were living in provincial locations rather than in the capital city of Kabul. The result was that I travelled around the country a great deal visiting the volunteers. By the time I made this first visit to Herat; I had decided that I wanted to visit a rug weaving family and so I prevailed upon the Peace Corps volunteers to try and find one. As things would have it one of the volunteers had a Turkoman boy in her class and asked him if we could visit his family and see the weaving. This was arranged and in the afternoon we set off for their home which was in a section outside the walls of the old city. Since our visit was pre-arranged, the father was at home and admitted us. We were taken to a room within the house compound which was a guest room. There was a stack of approximately a dozen new Mauris in one corner. We were joined by the teenage son, a younger son and a daughter. The rugs were opened and the weave and clip were discussed by the father. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rug Review. "The Peace Corps And The Making Of A Rug Dealer By George W. O'bannon" June 28, 2001.


2001: Donald E. Hanna and his wife served together in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan

I have had the opportunity to work and travel internationally. My wife and I served together in both the Teacher Corps in Lackawanna, New York, and the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. This experience remains a highlight of our lives, and not just because our first child, Jason, was born there. Our Peace Corps service helped to shape us and direct our lives in certain directions and broadened our view of the world. I can talk about this experience forever, so be careful what you ask. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: University of Wisconsin. "Donald E. Hanna And His Wife Served Together In The Peace Corps In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.


2001: Louise Baldwin spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan

Louise Baldwin is the Assistant Director of the International Center. She first joined the International Center as the Peace Corps Coordinator, then became Program Coordinator in 1991 and Assistant Director in 2000. Louise has a long-standing interest in other countries and other cultures. As an undergraduate student at Bryn Mawr College, she majored in Anthropology, and also has a master's degree in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. She spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, and afterwards travelled to a number of countries in Asia, including Pakistan, India, Nepal, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. She was also able to visit Taiwan a second time as part of a delegation of Foreign Student Advisors invited to offer seminars about study abroad. She has experience teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language, Anthropology, and Women's Studies. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: University of Michigan. "Louise Baldwin Spent Three Years As A Peace Corps Volunteer In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan RPCV Mark Ishige's Curry in a Hurry makes Indian Food

Ishige was an accountant at Cuyahoga Community College before deciding to turn his hobby into a profession. He had cooked Indian food for years for his friends, who invariably urged him to open a restaurant. "I guess it was in the back of my mind for a long time to start something like this," he says. "I figured if my friends enjoyed it, other people would, too." How Ishige got hooked on Indian cooking is a tale in itself. Of Japanese-American descent, he had never tasted Indian food until becoming friends with a few Indians while serving in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. They not only taught him to love Indian food, but how to cook it. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Ohio. "Mark Ishige's Curry In A Hurry Makes Indian Food" June 28, 2001.


2001: Lessons in Growing up in Afghanistan by RPCV Caryn Giles Lawson

I arrived in Kabul in the summer of 1977. The sight of the Hindu Kush mountain range, so dry and barren, surrounding the plateau of Kabul was both awesome and frightening. I was very scared and fairly sure I'd made a big mistake, but I felt so strongly about proving my independence, that I took a deep breath of that beautiful air and vowed to stick it out. I tried to clear my mind of all doubt and hoped that I could let go of enough of my Western perceptions to get something positive out of this great adventure. What I got was more than I could have ever imagined. It was a gift so great that I will never be able to adequately thank the Afghan people who shaped my life over the next two years. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I wanted to feel that I was "helping" in some meaningful way. Yet, due to the nature of my job assignment, I wasn't convinced that what I'd be doing was really what the country needed. I was the English teacher for employees of Ariana Afghan Airlines. Not as glamorous as it sounds, and certainly not something that fulfilled basic human needs such as public health programs or agricultural assistance. Still, I did the best I could, and probably accomplished very little. What I didn't expect is what I was given in terms of learning about life and experiencing a people and a culture, which would forever change the way I looked at the world and the human condition. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Afghan Magazine. "Lessons In Growing Up In Afghanistan By Rpcv Caryn Giles Lawson" June 28, 2001.


2001: First Person: Memories of Afghanistan by RPCV Donna Klaput

I remember traveling on the local mass transit, the ramshackle buses painted gloriously with delicate flowers and verses from the Koran. They were filled with veiled women, kids and men with their ever-present rifles; boxes and rugs and live chickens tied onto the roof. Before departing, the driver's assistant would jump on the back bumper and call out "borabakhai," signaling it was time to leave and entreating God's care for us on our trip. No journey would be begun without that exhilarating prayer that we all "go with God." Once in a while in the bazaar, there were a few floating clouds with women's shoes protruding demurely. Some young women would confide that they didn't like wearing the "chaudry," but others admitted it gave them a certain amount of freedom. Some young girls, anonymous, could see and observe and even act kind of silly in their invisibility. There was the exquisite Masjid-i-Jama (Friday Mosque) whose blue tiles mirror the sky and lovely tiled designs stood for centuries. And every day, five times a day, especially compelling and peaceful at dusk, coming from loudspeakers in its tower was the voice of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. Sometimes outside of town camped the "kuchis," the nomads who wander the desert. At their camp we sat in their black wool tent, sipping sweet tea and looking out at their sheep, which survived on the scrubbiest of grasses one can imagine. The women are leathered and, as with most of the Afghan people, it is impossible to guess their age. One carries a young child on her hip and extends her best hospitality to these odd-looking strangers. There are the friends and students who invite us to their homes. Always there are mounds and mounds of rice, with hidden globs of chicken or mutton buried in them, plus numerous small dishes of local fruits and vegetables. No matter the wealth or poverty of the family, they extend gracious hospitality. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Post Gazette. "First Person: Memories Of Afghanistan By Rpcv Donna Klaput" June 28, 2001.


2001: Years off the Beaten Path by Susan Sprachman Afghanistan RPCV 1969 - 71

My husband, Paul, and I were lucky enough to have spent the 70's in Afghanistan and Iran. Since we haven't been able to revisit those places, we have traveled extensively in Morocco and hiked through northern India. We have also enjoyed the company of a son, IsacZal, who has been as interesting and challenging as the counties we have loved over the years. We arrived in Afghanistan in the winter of 1969. We spent the first three months in Kabul, spending hours each day learning Dari and Afghan culture. We were sent on trips where we had to, with little experienced, manage to communicate in the language and use local transportation. Paul and I were told to find out way to Mazar-I-Sharif, up near the Russian border After a long bus journey, we arrived there at night and found ourselves in a horse cart with bells, wrapped in blankets, feeling like we had stepped onto the set of Dr. Zhivago. On one of our few days in Mazar we visited the ruined city of Balkh, destroyed by Timorlang. Here I am, aged 22, looking out from the ruins onto the winter landscape. We settled in Ghazni, a city about a mile up and a few hours south of Kabul. We shared a compound with our landlord's family. They group and were Shia Muslims (most of Afghanistan is Sunni). Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Personal Web Site. "Years Off The Beaten Path By Susan Sprachman Afghanistan Rpcv 1969 - 71" June 29, 2001.


2001: RPCV Jim Rumford writes historical novel about Afghanistan

Rumford was first introduced to Arabic calligraphy and cartography when he was a senior in high school in California and became fast friends with an Iranian boy who came to his high school. `He introduced me to the Persian language and its various writing styles,' Rumford says. `A few months later I saw an issue of National Geographic in which there was an Arab map of Sind (now Pakistan).' In college and graduate school, Rumford made a giant map of the world and hung it in his bedroom, marking the places he dreamed of visiting. When he and his wife joined the Peace Corps in 1971, he traveled to Africa and Asia and worked in Afghanistan for a year. It was there that he bought reed pens used for Arabic calligraphy and studied with a master calligrapher. `It's so incredibly sad to look at the pictures of the city of Kabul, where I lived in the '70s, and see it reduced to rubble,' he says. `To know that these people who have faced such incredible hardships are now faced with total annihilation. . . . If it isn't from the Taliban, it will be from starvation, or it might be from war.' The couple also lived in Saudi Arabia, where Rumford spent his weekends buying books on Arab geography, mapmaking and calligraphy. It was during that time that he found an English translation of a book by Ibn Battuta. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Dayton Daily News. "Child File; 14th Century Traveler Inspires Author" September 20, 2001.


2001: For facts on Taliban, world looks to RPCV Thomas Gouttierre in Omaha

His war is just beginning. His arsenal is in-depth, firsthand knowledge of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Afghanistan. His battlefield is his desk at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he is dean of International Studies and Programs. From it he gives media interviews - more than 250 since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His assistant slides the office door open, attempting to make her interruption soundless so as not to disturb a phone interview with a Japanese newspaper reporter or the television reporter who is unfolding camera equipment. She mouths "the State Department" as she hands Gouttierre a piece of paper - Washington needs to know whether he is familiar with any of the names on the list. A former United Nations specialist, this son of a Midwestern baker is among the most sought out information sources since the attacks. "We are at war now," Gouttierre said. "I'm too old to fight. But I can help on the information side, on the education side." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Kansas City Star. "Another Story About Rpcv Thomas E. Gouttierre Who Is Considered One Of The Nation's Leading Experts On The Taliban." September 30, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan is a different world ; Time in Peace Corps provided a view inside a diverse country

At the time we were there, being an American was generally OK. The United States supported massive agricultural aid in southwest Afghanistan. Pan American was the parent company of Ariana Airlines. Kabul University, especially the school of engineering where I taught, was built on an American model and heavily supported by a coalition of U.S. colleges. We had Fulbright Fellows from Harvard teaching alongside Peace Corps volunteers and Afghans. All of our teaching was in English. We needed the Afghan (Farsi) language to travel, which we did at every opportunity. We saw sights and visited places very few Westerners have. The most amazing journey of many was a two-week off- road sojourn through the center of Afghanistan to the Minaret of Jam, a remote tower built as a symbol of Islamic faith many hundreds of years ago.Adventures in a wa zThe trip involved wading across rivers and traveling high mountain passes. Our faithful vehicle was a World-War II- era Russian "waz," a sort of cross between an open-bed truck and a Jeep. At one point, I remember pushing the vehicle up a narrow mountain trail, with a thousand-foot drop on one side. As I leaned into the bumper to push, I got a close-up view of the worn outside tire, complete with stapled patches. "Inshallah" (if it is God's will) took on clear meaning. At every stream, the driver filled the radiator. Once, the fan belt broke, so the driver's assistant took the belt off his pants and used it for the engine. Recycling and making something from nothing are Afghan hallmarks. Along that journey, we saw one of the great natural wonders of the world. Located in the remote center of Afghanistan's Hindu Kush (Hindu killer) mountains, Band-i-Amir (necklace of the emperor) is a chain of lakes whose waters are bright blue-green from their mineral content. The minerals have built up natural dams around the perimeter of the lakes over eons. The waters are too mineral-laden to support life, so the dead, cold bright blue lakes exist in a barren landscape of beige desert mountains. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: GRP Press. "Afghanistan Is A Different World ; Time In Peace Corps Provided A View Inside A Diverse Country" October 14, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan is a different world ; Time in Peace Corps provided a view inside a diverse country

From 1974 through 1977, Vickie taught English at Kabul Airport for Ariana Afghan Airlines and airport staff. Arriving six months later, I taught architecture at Kabul University and designed rural schools for the Education Ministry. We met in Afghanistan and married on returning to the United States. When I said "yes" to the Peace Corps opportunity, I barely knew where Afghanistan was. I found that its remote location in Central Asia has been the stage for many wars throughout history. Its hostile mountains are like a rugged beach on which many a civilization has washed up. Almost none stayed long.The farthest extent Afghanistan was near the farthest eastern extent of the empire of Alexander the Great. It was the farthest western extent of Buddhism and the empires of Tamerlane and Genghis Khan, the farthest northern extent of Hinduism and later the British Empire. In our time, it was the farthest southern extent of the Russian empire. Only the religion of Islam, which washed over the region and beyond, has held. In fact, Islam is one of the only unifying forces in this very diverse, tribal land. For a fresh college graduate who had never traveled further east than Washington, D.C., the trip to Afghanistan might as well have been a journey to the moon. Originating in Akron, Ohio, I left the country from New York City with the one checked bag allowed, plus a guitar, to begin two years serving in Afghanistan. More than 24 hours in transit, I knew we weren't in the Midwest anymore. The barren Afghan landscape seen from the air reinforced the idea of a lunar landing. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Grand Rapids Press. "Read This Story From The Grand Rapids Press About One Returned Volunteers Service In Afghanistan In The 1970'S. Find The Complete Story Here:" October 14, 2001.


2001: RPCV Jeff Labovitz works in Afghan Relief

Labovitz has worked in 25 countries so far this year, from Sierra Leone and Eritrea to Kosovo. He spent a month this summer at Maslakh, a camp near Herat, in western Afghanistan, where some 150,000 refugees now live. International relief efforts stepped up after several dozen residents froze to death last winter. The group was in the process of building 12,000 shelters, in a joint project with Habitat for Humanity, when the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 forced the evacuation of international workers.  Herat under Taliban rule was a remarkable place to work.  "They've got a great list of rules for internationals working down there," Labovitz said. "You can't look at a woman. You can't get on the Internet or listen to music and watch movies. You can't walk naked and you can't ring bells.  "It felt like you were going back centuries in time."  The Taliban's propensity for bribes and deal-making, however, was very much up to date.  "This is one of the most corrupt places I've ever worked," Labovitz s aid, "and I've worked in some corrupt places."  He recalled how one Taliban leader had refused delivery of some 20,000 tents unless he got a $30,000 bribe up front, how others had trucked in people at gunpoint to jack up the count at registrations intended to determine the amount of required food and other supplies.  "Some of the Taliban leaders were quite pleasant and some were rougher," Labovitz said. "I definitely got the impression that not all of them are true believers."   Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Relief Worker Illustrates Problems In Aiding Refugees ; Taliban Impose Rules, Take Bribes" October 15, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan RPCV Lois V. Backus Addresses Anthrax Threats Against Abortion Providers

Threatening letters and unidentified powdery substances were received by abortion clinics in more than 13 states on Monday. This is the third wave of such threats since 1998. Lois V. Backus, MPH, executive director of Medical Students for Choice said today, "As we watch some of our most trusted public figures face the fear that such threats cause, all of us at Medical Students for Choice wish to express our concern and sympathy for the many victims of this terror." "These letters are a reminder that over the past decade, reproductive health care providers have suffered repeated threats," said Ms. Backus, who joined Medical Students for Choice this week. "In our efforts to seek justice against terrorists overseas, we cannot forget that we face continued threats from terrorists within our borders as well." Ms. Backus obtained her Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Yale School of Medicine in 1986 and has worked in the field of public health with a focus on women's health care throughout her career. From 1978-79, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Medical Students for Choice (MSFC). "Medical Students For Choice Addresses Anthrax Threats Against Abortion Providers" October 18, 2001.


2001: Jennet Robinson Alterman worked in health care in remote areas of Afghanistan

Jennet Robinson Alterman isn't one to shrink from challenges, be it hunger in Swaziland or health care in remote areas of Afghanistan. But don't ask her to try on the chador she brought back from her time as a Peace Corps volunteer there. She won't do it. She winces at the suggestion. The traditional veiled covering that extremist Muslim sects in Afghanistan require women to wear means more to her than an uncomfortable, hot and restrictive garment. It means oppression of the worst kind for women. And it symbolizes civil rights abuses that must be addressed if post-war Afghanistan is to be sustainable. Alterman is executive director of the Center for Women in Charleston. Her mission is to help women here find resources they need to be successful - a mission that mirrors a world view where human rights are essential. During her years as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as an employee of the Peace Corps in Africa and in Washington, D.C., she became convinced that the condition of women makes the difference between a country immobilized by poverty and one with hope for a bright future. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Center for Women. "What Of Women In Afghanistan?" November 6, 2001.


2001: Afghanistan RPCV Jennet Robinson Alterman isn't one to shrink from challenges, be it hunger in Swaziland or health care in remote areas of Afghanistan

Alterman is executive director of the Center for Women in Charleston. Her mission is to help women here find resources they need to be successful - a mission that mirrors a world view where human rights are essential. During her years as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as an employee of the Peace Corps in Africa and in Washington, D.C., she became convinced that the condition of women makes the difference between a country immobilized by poverty and one with hope for a bright future. Women, she says, in even the most oppressive societies, make key choices about issues like education, nutrition and health care. When women are disregarded, the standard of living suffers. When women move toward equality, the standard of living improves. Alterman gives an example: The United States, in an effort to raise the standard of living on an island in the Philippines, provided farmers with a new variety of rice that produced twice the yield of the variety they had been growing. Islanders' income dropped. The reason, Alterman says, is planners failed to interview women before initiating the program, and it was women who harvested and threshed the rice. They also used a byproduct to make baskets, which they sold to pay for vegetable gardens. The high-yield variety of rice took twice as long to harvest and thresh. It left women no time to make baskets and no money for gardens. The islanders' nutrition suffered along with their incomes. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: C4Women. "What Of Women In Afghanistan?" November 6, 2001.


2001: Peace Corps Veterans support propaganda war in Afghanistan

WITH THE TRADE towers still smoldering, three members of the Army’s psychological-warfare unit gathered here to search for an answer. Each had spent big chunks of his life in Afghanistan. Two were native speakers. All three, though, were initially dumbfounded. “We were just trying to find a word for terrorist or terrorism in Dari or Pashto. But there was no such word,” says David Champagne, an Army civilian analyst and former Peace Corps worker in Afghanistan who has been a critical player in crafting a campaign. Says another of his colleagues: “The entire campaign has been a tough nut to crack.” The 4th Psychological Operations (Psyops) group is the only active-duty unit in the U.S. military dedicated to psychological operations, an Orwellian-sounding term for a strategy almost as old as war itself. Using leaflets, loudspeakers and four airborne radio stations, their job is to persuade enemy fighters to quit and to convince civilians that U.S. bombs raining down on their country will result in a better future for their families. In Afghanistan, where the population is spread out, largely illiterate and lacking even basics such as batteries for transistor radios, the unit’s job is particularly daunting. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Wall Street Journal. "Read This Story From The Wall Street Journal On The Propaganda War That ‘Psyops’ Army Groups Are Waging In Afghanistan. Many Returned Volunteers May Be Surprised To Discover The Army Civilian Analyst Who Is A Critical Player In Crafting The Campaign Is An Rpcv And Up To One-Quarter Of The Civilian Consultants To This Elite Unit Are Returned Volunteers." November 8, 2001.


2001: RPCV Expert on Taliban Thomas Gouttierre comments on Afghan Situation

While Afghans are celebrating the Taliban's retreat, many worry as they recall past atrocities by groups making up the Northern Alliance. "We need to reassure the people of Kabul," said Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "We need to reinforce that this wasn't just to restore the Northern Alliance to power." Tuesday's capture of the capital heightened a concern that Tajuddin Millatmal has had ever since U.S. forces started supporting the Northern Alliance. "It was their atrocities that people were so tired of that they welcomed the Taliban," said Millatmal, an Afghan physician who fled his homeland in 1980 and remains involved in the country's politics. President Bush showed his concern by calling on the Northern Alliance not to capture Kabul before a government was ready. But when the Taliban forces retreated from the capital Tuesday, joyful Northern Alliance troops entered without a fight. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "November 14 - Omaha World Herald: Rpcv Expert On Taliban Comments On Afghan Situation" November 19, 2001.


2001: RPCV recall old times in Kabul

A 1960 graduate of Clark University, Mr. McCune served two years in the Peace Corps in Kabul, where he met the king. "We had been there about six months, and apparently the royal family had gotten reports about us ... people riding bicycles and doing all sorts of crazy things, and they wanted to meet us. We got an invitation to visit, but they didn't invite anyone from the American Embassy," Mr. McCune said. "Before our meeting, we had all killed ourselves practicing our Farsi, only to have the king speak to us in perfect English. Looking back, my impression of King Zahir Shah was that he was very dignified and very gentle," he added. Mr. McCune said he had read that the king had been invited to return to Afghanistan. "If he does, I'm sure he'll be taking his life in his hands. Afghanistan is one country where political instability is endemic. The king's grandfather was killed in a `hunting accident,' which everyone knows was no accident," he said. Mr. McCune said that while he thoroughly enjoyed his two-year stay in Afghanistan 37 years ago and would return "in a heartbeat," continued fighting would preclude opportunities for civilian volunteers for some time to come. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "Read This Story From The Worcester Telegram & Gazette About Rpcv Jay E. Mccune About Afghanistan Where He Served In The Early 1960'S At:" November 19, 2001.


2001: Psy-Ops Group From Bragg Tries Music to Entice Afghanistan

“The Afghan people love music,” Col. James A. Treadwell said. “However, they were not able to get any music, so we’re sending some music -- their music.” Treadwell is commander of the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg. He commands the Army’s only active-duty psychological operations group. The group includes a wide range of people, from enlisted soldiers to civilians with doctorates who specialize in foreign culture, languages and politics. Psychological operations soldiers are trained to use radio and television broadcasts and printed leaflets to encourage foreign audiences to stop fighting or support U.S. forces. The idea used in formulating messages is, “The bait has to appeal to the fish.” There’s a large Afghan population in the United States, so it was easy to determine what might be appealing, Treadwell said. “The music has been very well received,” he said. “It’s instrumental music.” The person given credit for using music to appeal to Afghans is Dr. David Champagne, the senior analyst in support of the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion. The 8th Battalion supports Central Command. Champagne lived in Afghan- istan for 10 years and taught English there, Treadwell said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Fayetteville Local News. "Read This Story From The Fayetteville Local News On David Champagne And His Work With The Army's Psychological Warfare Unit In Afghanistan At:" November 27, 2001.


2001: Peace Corps Veterans support propaganda war in Afghanistan (full story)

"Psyops soldiers are somewhat misunderstood by the rest of the military," says Sgt. Maj. Dana Jumper, the unit's top enlisted officer. "They are much more likely to ask, 'Why, Sgt. Major?' than they are to salute and say, 'Yes sir.'" In Afghanistan, their role is critical. Reluctant to commit large numbers of ground troops to the fight, U.S. military planners are counting on Taliban soldiers to defect to the U.S., and on ordinary Afghans to take up arms to back American troops. To help make that happen, the 4th Psyops Group already has dropped more than 16 million leaflets on Afghanistan. The most recent shows a Taliban soldier using a metal rod to beat several women, covered head to toe in their Islamic robes, called burkhas. "Is this the future you want for your women and children?" it asks in both Dari and Pashto, the two most common Afghan languages. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Wall Street Journal. "Read The Full Story About Psychological Warfare In Afghanistan At:" November 27, 2001.


2001: Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes spends A Night in the Taliban Kitchen

What is crucial to understand is that this place had been utter mayhem in the time between the Soviet withdrawal and the rise of the Taliban. There were 30 check points between Kandahar and the border, manned by robber barons. Bus passengers were shaken down, truck drivers had to pay exorbitant tolls, people were hauled off and murdered or raped. At least part of the Taliban’s rise had to do with imposing some law and order in the name of the only ethics going around here: Islam. Unfortunately, most say, over time the Taliban turned, getting increasingly repressive, arrogant and grasping. The Taliban press conference, which took place on the second day, was interesting, even if much of what was said was disingenuous (“Forget about Sept. 11; that doesn’t have anything to do with this.”) I was impressed by the Taliban spokesman, a poised 25-year-old who answered even provocative questions in measured tones. At one point, an official admonished me that two questions was enough. However, when I saw the guys getting five and six, I waded back in, to looks of frank, but smiling, astonishment from the Talibs, who I am sure had never seen a woman participate in a public event before. But the stunner was this: When word got out I was fasting for Ramadan, our Taliban hosts positively fell in love with me. Najibullah, the security chief, invited me to break fast with him. A scraggly-beard young Talib in his group gave me his fountain pen. Another solemnly brought me an apple during the night as I sat under the one electric light writing my story, which I filed by the light of a kerosene lamp, huddled shivering between two tents of snoring colleagues. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Andover Bulletin Online. "A Night In The Taliban Kitchen" December 1, 2001.


2001: Press briefing by the UN offices for Pakistan and Afghanistan by Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF

For all these reasons, UNICEF will work closely with women and women's groups as we pursue the rehabilitation of education and healthcare - our two key priorities for the children of Afghanistan. In one small example, we have committed ourselves to providing teaching supplies and other support to all informal schools in the Kabul area in the next six weeks. Whatever they need to keep education going and expand learning in the interim until public education re-opens next spring. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: United Nations. "Press Briefing By The Un Offices For Pakistan And Afghanistan By Carol Bellamy, Executive Director Of Unicef" December 4, 2001.


2001: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre has close ties to Hamid Karzai, Afghan Leader chosen to head the Provisional Government

Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun tribal leader chosen to head the provisional government, visited the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1999 and was instrumental in selecting participants for a UNO conference to discuss a post-Taliban government. "I can't think of a better guy right now to be the head of this," said Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Center for Afghanistan Studies. He said he considers Karzai "among my very closest Afghan friends." Karzai is leading Pashtun forces fighting the Taliban near Kandahar. His Cabinet will take over power in Afghanistan from the triumphant Northern Alliance on Dec. 22. The deal also asks the United Nations to authorize an international force to provide security in the capital, Kabul, and eventually other areas. Afghan leaders applauded and embraced Wednesday as they signed the pact creating the temporary administration for their war-ravaged nation. The choosing of a post-Taliban government to lead Afghanistan for the next six months was the result of nine days of furious negotiating and enormous international pressure on the Northern Alliance and three other Afghan factions meeting near Bonn. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Read The Article From The Omaha World-Herald On Rpcv Thomas Gouttierre And His Ties To Several People Who Have Been Named At Serve On Afghanistan's Interim Cabinet At:" December 6, 2001.


2001: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre has ties to several named to serve on Afghanistan's interim cabinet

Afghan delegates planning the provisional government at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, invited Abdul Salaam Azimi, a research associate at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to be education minister. Azimi, former president of Kabul University, said he did not reject the position, but suggested alternate candidates when he received a call from Bonn, Germany, to his Omaha home. Later Wednesday, Ghulam Muhammad Yailaqi was named education minister. Azimi would not comment further. Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Center for Afghanistan Studies, said Azimi came to Omaha as a refugee in the 1980s and was chief of UNO's education projects in Afghanistan. He became a U.S. citizen in 1990. If he had accepted the appointment, Gouttierre said, "there couldn't be a better, more qualified person for the position." UNO has ties to several people who did accept positions in the interim cabinet. Dr. Abdullah, the foreign affairs minister, visited UNO in 1999 or 2000, Gouttierre said. "He's the right guy for that job." Sima Samar, one of two women in the provisional cabinet, will be minister of foreign affairs and a vice chairwoman. She fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979 and worked as a doctor in a refugee camp in Pakistan, where she opened a hospital in 1987. She also ran schools in rural Afghanistan for more than 17,400 students as well as a school for refugee girls in Quetta, Pakistan. Literacy programs established by her organization were accompanied by distribution of food aid and information on hygiene and family planning. "She's great," Gouttierre said. "We were helping out her schools at one time." After the severe persecution of women under the Taliban, "that's amazing to have these two women in the cabinet," he said. "That's a huge step forward." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Read The Article From The Omaha World-Herald On Rpcv Thomas Gouttierre And His Ties To Several People Who Have Been Named At Serve On Afghanistan's Interim Cabinet At:" December 6, 2001.


2001: American soldiers, anthropologists and Peace Corps veterans took part in the downfall of the Taliban in Afghanistan using posters, propaganda and music

AN ECLECTIC group of American soldiers, anthropologists and Peace Corps veterans have allowed themselves a few moments of quiet satisfaction about their part in the downfall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. They used posters, propaganda and, best of all, music. The "psyops" specialists had gathered in a windowless conference room in the heart of Fort Bragg, a huge army base in North Carolina that is home to the American special forces. But these people do not kick down doors or cut throats. They are more George Orwell than Hollywood macho John Wayne. The 4th Psychological Operations Group used a variety of approaches but the Afghan loathing of foreigners played a central role in their campaign. Osama bin Laden, the Saudi head of the al-Qa'eda terrorist network based in Afghanistan, was portrayed as the alien oppressor while the American message was: "We are not here to stay. We are here to assist Afghans." One American leaflet showed bin Laden playing chess, a popular pastime in Afghanistan before it was banned by the Taliban, with the pawns depicted as Mullah Omar and his fellow Taliban. "Expel the foreign rulers and live in peace" read the accompanying slogan. Using 18 million leaflets dropped from American planes and more than 800 hours of radio broadcasts from EC130 "Commando Solo" aircraft, the psyops team sought to win hearts and minds of the Afghans with their most powerful weapon: music. "I was sort of a hippy in the 1960s," said Dr Champagne, now balding and in his early fifties. "I taught in a high school in Afghanistan 30 years ago when I was in the Peace Corps and it changed my life." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: News Telegraph. "Hippy Who Waged War With Music And Posters Toby Harnden Meets America's Experts In Psychological Warfare" December 8, 2001.


2001: Interview with RPCV David Champagne who led in in Army's Psy-Ops in Afghanistan

David Champagne is a civilian analyst for the 4th Psy-Ops group based here at Fort Bragg. With wire-rimmed glasses and a gray suit he looks like a professor which he says he'd be if he didn't work for this unit of the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command. The Army terms his craft "information warfare," what the layman might call "propaganda," which as Group Commander Jim Treadwell notes doesn't necessarily mean being untruthful. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: On the Media. "Brooke Gladstone: A Taliban Soldier Surrenders To The Northern Alliance. A Man In Kabul Grows More Resentful Of Mullah Omar By The Day. A Family Of Refugees At The Pakistani Border Thinks Maybe America Can Help, And Maybe America Has Helped Them Think So, Thanks To The 1200 Men And Women In North Carolina Who Work For The Military Psychological Operations Or Psy-Ops Unit. On The Media's Producer At Large Mike Pesca Visited The Army's Only Active Psy-Ops Unit And Came Back With This." December 8, 2001.


2001: RPCV Raising Money For Afghan Orphans

A Carmel businessman who owns a store selling Afghan merchandise is leading a group of peninsula residents who are trying to raise money for orphans in Afghanistan. More than two decades of conflict and civil war has created thousands of orphans in the country, and unrest in the country has made it difficult for aid to reach the children. Peterson Conway said that food, blankets and clothing are in short supply in Afghanistan. "It's a dangerous time now in Afghanistan -- not just because of the war, but because of the winter," Conway said. When I was a peace corps volunteer, more than 30 years ago, I used to play soccer and volleyball with these kids." Conway said he fell in love with Afghanistan during a trip in college. "These children have nothing," Conway said. "The civilian population is facing such tremendous deprivation for the winter, it's unbelievable." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: MSNBC. "Carmel Man Raising Money For Afghan Orphans" December 11, 2001.


2002: Dr. David Champagne, the 4th PSYOP Group's civilian Afghanistan expert, who says he fell in love with the country as a Peace Corps "hippie"

Over in the nearby printing plant, the air is choked with the smell of printer cleaning solvent, as the presses have now rolled off 15 million leaflets that have been dropped in fiberglass bombs over Afghanistan. Here, Dr. David Champagne, the 4th PSYOP Group's civilian Afghanistan expert, who says he fell in love with the country as a Peace Corps "hippie," translates the latest effort: a leaflet wishing Afghans "Happy Eid" (the feast in which Muslims break their Ramadan fast). "We want them to know that we care about them as human beings," says Champagne. "They probably haven't had many happy greetings for the last six years." With all this peace'n'love, a naïve civilian --- convincingly played by yours truly --- might start suspecting that the real psychological operation is the one the 4th PSYOP Group is performing on the press. When my public affairs escort tells me that everything they put out has to be truthful, I finally snap: "Who cares if it is? This is war." ("Hey, I don't make the rules," he counters.) But my initial reaction is a poorly informed one. As Col. James Treadwell, the 4th PSYOP Group commander, says, "Truth is the best propaganda. If you ever get caught in a lie, you lose your credibility. That doesn't mean we have to tell the whole truth. I guess that's one difference between public affairs and psychological operations." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Weekly Standard. "Psyching Out The Taliban: The Army Plans Mind Games At Fort Bragg." January 13, 2002.


2002: U.S. Peace Corps to Heed President Bush's Call for Volunteers

President Bush is to be commended for his strong emphasis on volunteerism in his State of the Union speech last night and, in particular, his support of Peace Corps volunteers. For more than 40 years, Peace Corps volunteers have worked overseas at the grassroots level with the goal of promoting world peace and friendship by helping to train individuals in their host countries, educating them about Americans, and upon return to the United States, helping to educate Americans about the countries in which they served. As the President relayed in his message and consistent with the safety and security of each volunteer, Peace Corps will expand its presence worldwide. There is a demand for Peace Corps volunteers throughout the world and an enormous interest on the part of Americans to serve overseas. We are in agreement with the President to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers over the next five years. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US State Department. "U.s. Peace Corps To Heed President Bush's Call For Volunteers" January 30, 2002.


2002: New Peace Corps volunteers should head first to Afghanistan

In 1971 a severe drought struck the rugged mountain kingdom of Afghanistan. Amid reports of widespread famine, the United States committed millions of dollars in aid to the Afghans. But it also sent a more valuable human resource: 200 Peace Corps volunteers. The volunteers' experience reminds us why the Peace Corps still matters. In his State of the Union address, President Bush wisely called upon Congress to double the size of the agency -- and to send more volunteers into Islamic countries. Let's hope Afghanistan is the first one. During the 1971 drought, Peace Corps volunteers delivered wheat to starving Afghans in exchange for labor on public work projects. By the following year, this "Food For Work" program had distributed 12,000 tons of wheat and had employed 180,000 people on more than 1,000 construction projects. Other volunteers began an agricultural extension program to help Afghanistan increase wheat production and diversify into other crops. Still others addressed the devastating health consequences of the famine, promoting tuberculosis control as well as smallpox eradication. Most of all, though, the Peace Corps introduced different ways of thinking. In a country wracked by ethnic violence and prejudice, volunteers went out of their way to treat all people equally. Afghans were especially surprised -- and sometimes annoyed -- to find Americans assisting the Hazaras, the oppressed and impoverished tribe that inhabited Afghanistan's barren central region. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Intelligencer. "New Peace Corps Volunteers Should Head First To Afghanistan" February 3, 2002.


2002: President lays out vision of Peace Corps expansion and sending volunteers to Afghanistan �

President Bush (news - web sites) said Friday he is sending the Peace Corps into Afghanistan (news - web sites) for the first time since 1979 as part of an effort to double its presence around the world. "Today the mission is needed more than ever," Bush said after the swearing-in of Gaddi Vasquez as the organization's new director. Bush renewed his commitment to double the number of volunteers abroad to about 15,000 — a level not seen since 1966 — and to steer more of them to countries that he believes most misunderstand America. He said that during a visit to Asia next week he will push Chinese officials to allow an expansion of the program there. Bush also said he will seek to place the first-ever volunteers in Azerbaijan, East Timor (news - web sites), Bosnia-Herzegovina, and return volunteers to Peru, Swaziland, Chad and Botswana. "The Peace Corps volunteers carry the American idea with them," Bush said. "If we were not to allow the Peace Corps to expand, we would be doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do, and we're not going to let them cause us to abandon what we hold dear." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Associated Press. "President Lays Out Vision Of Peace Corps Expansion And Sending Volunteers To Afghanistan" February 15, 2002.


2002: Peace Corps to send volunteers to Peru and East Timor

Through the USA Freedom Corps effort, President Bush seeks to strengthen the Peace Corps as an organization and offer the talent of Peace Corps volunteers to new countries around the world. Doubling the Size of the Peace Corps: There are currently 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 70 countries around the world. President Bush pledged to double the size of the Peace Corps over the next five years -- bringing the Peace Corps close to its peak enrollment levels of the mid-1960s. Increasing the Number of Countries Where Peace Corps Members Serve: President Bush will work to expand opportunities for American volunteers to serve in countries where the Peace Corps does not currently have a presence and where the needs for Peace Corps assistance may be great. This includes expanding Peace Corps service in Islamic countries. Within the next 6 months, a number of countriesincluding East Timor and Peruwill welcome Peace Corps volunteers. And, over the next two months, Peace Corps volunteers will be returning to the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia. Peace Corps assessment teams will be sent to countries like Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Swaziland and Chad to evaluate opportunities for service. Sending Crisis Corps Members to Assist the Rebuilding of Afghanistan: An assessment team of Peace Corps staff members and experienced Peace Corps volunteerspart of the Crisis Corps programwill travel to Afghanistan within weeks to evaluate opportunities for the Peace Corps to assist the Afghan people in rebuilding. Expediting Applications for Peace Corps Volunteers: President Bush also called for streamlining the application process for Peace Corps volunteers, as well as improving the management, information technology and other skills and training to expand opportunities for today's Peace Corps members. Since President Bush announced his USA Freedom Corps initiative on January 29, more than 2,775 potential Peace Corps volunteers have started applications and almost 7,000 men and women have contacted the Peace Corps to ask about volunteering. The Peace Corps estimates that there has been a 300% increase in volunteer interest. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: White House Press Release. "Fact Sheet: The President's Commitment To Strengthening The Peace Corps" February 15, 2002.


2002: Peace Corps to send team to Afghanistan to evaluate opportunities for service

The President also announced that a special Peace Corps assessment team will travel to Afghanistan to evaluate needs and opportunities for Peace Corps volunteers to assist the Afghan people in rebuilding their nation. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: White House Press Release. "Fact Sheet: The President's Commitment To Strengthening The Peace Corps" February 15, 2002.


2002: Vasquez gets his orders

Gaddi Vasquez had only been Peace Corps chief for minutes Friday when President George W. Bush substantially expanded his job, directing him to bring volunteers back into Afghanistan and double the agency's presence worldwide. The former Orange County supervisor was sworn in at a private Oval Office ceremony, becoming the highest-profile administration official from Orange County. "A spirit of sacrifice and service gave birth to the Peace Corps more than 40 years ago," Bush said after Vasquez's swearing in. "We needed the Peace Corps then, and we need the Peace Corps today." Bush's Peace Corps expansion plan includes doubling to 15,000 the number of volunteers, making it the largest Peace Corps since 1966. And for the first time since 1979, the Peace Corps will have a mission in Afghanistan. A team to scope out the needs, safety and extent of such a mission will head to Afghanistan within the next three weeks. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Orange County Register. "Vasquez Gets His Orders" February 16, 2002.


2002: Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan

President Bush said today that a Peace Corps team would leave within three weeks for Afghanistan to assess how the program could help reconstruct the country. The mission would be the first time the agency has been in Afghanistan since the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. "The Peace Corps, itself, stands for what we fight for," Mr. Bush said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. "And if we weren't to understand that role, if we were to shrink in our obligations, if we were not to allow the Peace Corps to expand, we would be doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do." Mr. Bush also said he would push to expand the Peace Corps program in China during his visit to Asia next week. China has had a total of about 200 Peace Corps volunteers since 1993. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: New York Times. "Bush Is Giving Peace Corps An Aid Mission In Afghanistan" February 16, 2002.


2002: Peace Corps Director to Meet With Foreign Leaders; Vasquez Goes to Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Peru

Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez left on his first trip representing the agency today to meet with government officials in Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Peru. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, Vasquez is meeting with Peace Corps officials who are conducting programming and security assessments to determine if conditions in the countries will support sending in the agency’s Crisis Corps volunteers. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US Peace Corps Press Release. "Peace Corps Director To Meet With Foreign Leaders; Vasquez Goes To Afghanistan, Pakistan, China And Peru" March 5, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says Kabul's kids will soon be spelling 'Omaha'

Thomas Gouttierre acknowledges that his latest project is "not a walk in the park by any stretch." As dean of international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska (Omaha), Gouttierre joined forces last month with the U.S. Agency for International Development in a massive undertaking: printing enough textbooks- somewhere between 4 million and 5 million-in time for the scheduled reopening of schools in Afghanistan on March 23. That project, called ARRENA, or America's Rapid Response to Education Needs in Afghanistan, will provide textbooks in both the Dari and Pashtu languages to Afghan students in all subjects for grades K-12. The project is a major part of international efforts to get schools ready for the school year in a country where fighting has recently intensified, the interim government remains on shaky ground, and many schools lack even the most basic supplies and infrastructure, such as toilets and heat. Gouttierre and his university have a long history in the country. Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies-the only one of its kind in the United States-was started in 1973, and from 1986 to 1994, the center received more than $50 million in grants from U.S. AID for education projects in Afghanistan. During those years, about 8,800 Afghan teachers were trained and 13 million textbooks were printed and distributed. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: National Journal. "Kabul's Kids Will Soon Be Spelling 'Omaha'" March 30, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Kevin McNamara works to help rebuild Kabul University

McNamara traveled to Kabul with Zarjon Baha, a professor of building construction management technology, and Dennis Engi, a professor and head of the School of Industrial Engineering. The trip was paid for with private gifts to Purdue. The three faculty members met with Afghan government and education officials to assess the needs of a university that was devastated by years of civil war during the 1990s and the Taliban rule that followed. Buildings have been badly damaged and gutted by scavengers, who have removed electrical wiring and other valuable equipment and materials. "The labs are either totally empty or they have equipment lying around in heaps, essentially unusable," Engi said. Most of the university's faculty members do not have advanced degrees; textbooks and other educational materials are in scarce supply; and the curricula require serious attention. Add to those woes Kabul's overall condition, and higher education officials in Afghanistan will have their hands full rebuilding the university, the Purdue team reported. "As we rolled down the runway, we could see burned-out hulks of airplanes that had been destroyed," said McNamara, who had lived in Afghanistan during the 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer. "It's a very different place than it was 30 years ago." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Purdue University. "Purdue Faculty Return From Afghanistan After Fact-Finding Trip" April 2, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan’s security woes

The start of developmental activities will help. Back to school day [schools reopened two weeks ago] from one side it means two million children returned to school, and will have already started their education. But if you see it deeply, the impact is much more than education for a number of people. It is an element for stability. It is an element for national unity. The start of developmental activities will create jobs for the people in different parts of the country. It will help. Overall, I am not trying to say this is the most ideal situation but I’m saying we are moving in the right direction. To deal with the local authorities, it will take time, (including) the creation of a national army, the creation of a national police force. And the revival of the judiciary and penal systems. These all should be conducted in a sort of interactive way, to help the situation. Time is important. We have no time to waste, but I think we have made good use of time so far, and we hope that we will be able to do it better. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: MSNBC. "Afghanistan’s Security Woes" April 9, 2002.


2002: Many Afghans in U.S. make their way home on "personal peace corps mission"

Return of Qualified Afghans, an agency in Washington that was started in December to return college-educated professionals to Afghanistan for up to a year to help in the rebuilding effort, has received 300 applications from the United States, among 4,000 from 27 countries. The program, begun by the International Organization for Migration, which has conducted similar programs in Bosnia, Armenia and several African countries, is set to run through 2004. By that time, the organization hopes to have 1,500 Afghans placed in fields including technology, law, medicine, agriculture and economics. Hekmat Karzai, the program's director (and a cousin of Afghanistan's interim president, Hamid Karzai), said that by the beginning of April, 50 Afghans had been placed in positions including deputy ministers in the government and administrators in nongovernmental organizations. "What we do when we receive a request from Afghanistan is to match the position with the applicants in our database," said Karzai. "There is a tremendous need in Afghanistan for these people and their expertise, in all sectors." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Register-Guard . "Many Afghans In U.s. Make Their Way Home" April 14, 2002.


2002: Troops in Afghanistan a kind of peace corp

Soldiers are doing more than firing their weapons in world trouble spots. They’re also handymen, math teachers, well diggers, road builders — a kind of peace corps, although their business is war. In Afghanistan, they’ve helped dig water wells, rebuild schools and open hospitals. In the Philippines, they went knocking on village doors to find out what people need. It’s part of a larger effort to make friends with local populations where American troops are fighting the anti-terror war, or at least to ease tensions over the Americans’ presence. U.S. officials call the decades-old practice winning hearts and minds. During World War II, for example, soldiers gave candy to children. Today, the sight of U.S. soldiers, out of uniform and doing charitable work, has drawn fire from humanitarian groups that say the practice puts their own aid workers at risk. “We’re afraid some of our people will get killed or hurt” by people mistaking them for the military, said Jim Bishop, director of disaster response for InterAction, which represents more than a dozen U.S.-based international relief organizations working in Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Army Times. "Troops Do What They Can To Make Friends" April 16, 2002.


2002: The Peace Corps Will Need Some Backup

If things go according to the Bush administration's plan, the Peace Corps will be back in Afghanistan soon. This makes sense; it could spur Afghan reconstruction while teaching idealistic young Americans about the realities of life in the developing world. But these laudable aims can be accomplished only if the administration agrees to extend the mandate of the international peacekeeping force there, and expand it to cover the provinces. I speak from experience: I was the last Peace Corps volunteer evacuated from Afghanistan in 1979 before the Soviet invasion. I arrived in Kabul in January 1978 and was assigned to work in a health clinic north of Mazar-e-Sharif, near the Uzbek border. Three months later bombs started to fall, as part of a Soviet-backed coup in which the Communist "People's Democratic Party" murdered President Mohammed Daoud, the last ruling member of the Mohammedzai dynasty. After several days of intense fighting, an eerie calm settled over a capital now under strict military curfew. My most vivid memory of the following weeks is of riding my bicycle past ever-lengthening lines of people waiting outside prisons for news of relatives who had disappeared. Many never got answers, and the new regime's duplicity and brutality were only the beginning of the country's long nightmare. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "The Peace Corps Will Need Some Backup" April 27, 2002.


2002: Rep. Sam Farr calls on House to support Afghanistan; send Peace Corps back; improve Safety for Peace Corps Volunteers

Rep. Farr – a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia in the mid-60s and a staunch supporter in Congress of increasing the Peace Corps’ presence around the world – made this statement to his House colleagues: “The Afghan Freedom Support Act makes good on America’s promise not to abandon Afghanistan. Our commitment to Afghanistan will be a testament to America’s commitment to its allies in the War on Terror. “It will demonstrate that the U.S. is in it for the long haul, that we are not only committed to rooting out terrorist organizations, but that we are committed to assisting those countries in their course of development, to help create an environment in which terrorists will find no harbor, a vibrant economy and society in which terror has no place. “The most important commitment that the U.S. can make, however, is to support the security of our Afghan allies and friends. Without security, there can be no infrastructure rebuilding, no eradication of narcotics cultivation, no economic revitalization, no improved education and health care. None of our well-intentioned programs, which ultimately will be assumed by the Afghans themselves, will find any success without adequate security measures. “Security is most certainly not a partisan issue. Here we all agree that security is fundamental to prosperity. I am sure then, that many of my colleagues shared my dismay when the President announced that the U.S. would not support an extension of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to other major cities in Afghanistan besides Kabul. It contradicted the President’s announcement that he would like to see the Peace Corps Crisis Corps, and eventually Peace Corps Volunteers, back in Afghanistan as soon as possible. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Congressman Sam Farr. "Rep. Sam Farr Calls On House To Support Afghanistan; Send Peace Corps Back; Improve Safety For Peace Corps Volunteers" May 22, 2002.


2002: A PC Staffer Returns to Afghanistan

When Suzanne Griffin travels to Afghanistan next week, she will be almost literally living out a dream: Her husband, Michael, told her he would dream at night of returning as an old man to the country, where the couple lived for two years in the late 1960s. Michael Griffin never made it back. War and tyranny thwarted his hopes over the years, and he died of a heart attack in 1999. "That's always been in my mind," Suzanne Griffin said last week in her office at South Seattle Community College. Once the fall of the Taliban regime last year reopened travel to Afghanistan, Griffin said, "I thought, `I can do this.' He's not here, but I can go." Griffin, 56, is the dean of the English as a Second Language program at SSCC and former head of the adult refugee project of the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. She'll spend two months in Afghanistan with the International Rescue Committee, a worldwide relief organization, helping to organize ESL instruction. That's a critical component of the Afghan effort to get up to speed in computers, engineering and other fields in which English is the lingua franca. The first time Griffin arrived in Kabul, the Afghan capital, she was a 22-year-old newlywed accompanying her husband, a Peace Corps field officer. As his unofficial assistant, she traveled with him throughout the country, often visiting remote villages where Westerners, and especially Western women, were a rare sight. "By and large, there was no hostility," Griffin said. But stones were thrown at her a couple of times, she said, and she knows she must tread lightly in a male-dominated country with deeply conservative views of gender roles. "I think it's kind of holding your ground, and knowing the rules of the culture," she said. In retrospect, her 1968-69 sojourn in Afghanistan took place during a golden age of progressivism and peace in the country, Griffin said. Women could move freely in Kabul with their heads uncovered, and some even taught at the university. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer . "Kabul: A Dream Come True ; Woman Will Return To A Special Place Called Afghanistan" June 19, 2002.


2002: Ron Schaefer served his two-year commitment in Afghanistan

As my graduation with a bachelor's degree becomes ever more imminent, I started thinking about what I would do with that degree and where I would go from here. There were the obvious choices of graduate school or a job, but I was looking for alternative options. I wanted to do something that spoke to my commitment to humanity rather than my pursuit of the almighty corporate dollar. In other words, I wanted a chance to help others before I started helping myself. I became curious about the requirements for service in the Peace Corps. I spoke with professor Ron Schaefer in the English department and associate professor Dennis Hostetler of the department of public administration and policy analysis. They are both returned Peace Corps volunteers, or RPCVs. Schaefer served his two-year commitment in Afghanistan while Hostetler served in Tunisia. Both agreed service in the Peace Corps had a profound impact on their lives. "I learned more during my two years in the Peace Corps than in four years as an undergrad," Hostetler said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: SIUE. "Ron Schaefer Served His Two-Year Commitment In Afghanistan" June 28, 2002.


2002: Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Afghanisan meet in Wisconsin

The group of nearly 70 at the Memorial Union Lakeside Cafeteria served in Afghanistan during the mid-1970s and early 1980s. They came together once again not only to catch up, but to learn how they could help restore the war-torn country to the place they once knew. "It's been frustrating because I couldn't do anything about it," said Terry Dougherty of Ft. Wayne, Ind., who served in Kabul from 1972 to 1975. "Now there is hope that we can make a contribution." Former Peace Corp volunteer Randy Biggers of the U.S. State Department said the United States would soon begin a program to bring Afghan students and teachers to the United States for a cultural enrichment program similar to one between the United States and countries in the former Soviet Union. Several at the dinner Saturday said they wanted to sign up to host Afghans. Susan Dugan of Reno Nev., was in Gruishk from 1973 to 1975 with her husband Paul. They served as English teachers. "I wish that they can build their country back to the way it was when we were there, and I hope America can help," she said. "I don't want them forgotten." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Madison Newspapers. "Ex-Peace Corps Volunteers Meet" June 30, 2002.


2002: The Afghanistan I Know

As a young impressionable artist/photographer, having recently completed four years with the Peace Corps, I found Afghanistan wonderfully beautiful and exciting, its culture fascinating, and its people warm, hospitable and generous. My assignments were for the World Bank, the International Development Association, and several United Nations organizations, all with development projects in the country – UNDP (United Nations Development Program), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), WHO (World Health Organization), ILO (International Labor Organization), and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). I also had an assignment for the Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation to produce an in-depth picture story of the life of an Afghan family for their school series on family life in countries around the world. In the weeks I spent in Afghanistan I traveled widely, photographing everything from the country’s fledgling civil air service and tourist industry, visiting the magnificent 400 foot high Buddha sculptures carved into mountain sides in the Bamian Valley, to road construction, agriculture cooperatives, mother-child health clinics, cottage weaving and leather tanning industries, and my favorite subjects - the people and the markets. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Personal Web site. "The Afghanistan I Know" July 1, 2002.


2002: Security situation perilous in Kabul - Time yet for Peace Corps to return?

Keeping a low profile, as many as 50 U.S. special forces soldiers are now providing security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The president has rarely left his palace compound in Kabul in recent days, and he never strays far from his American guards. He has dismissed his Afghan security detail, apparently because he can’t trust them. The shift only underscores the perilous security situation in Afghanistan, where warlords are comfortably flexing their muscles in the provinces, defying a government whose hoped-for national army is still in its infancy. Victoria Holt is a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington think tank. She and colleague William Durch have been analyzing Afghanistan’s security shortcomings. They both are pushing for a stronger international financial and security commitment to Afghanistan. “I think we’re facing a key time,” Holt warned. “The international community has made an immense commitment to Afghanistan, and it’s time they follow through both financially, but particularly with security to make sure the good works already done are secured.” Holt and Durch agree with the Afghan leadership that ISAF’s role should be broadened to a force of around 18,000 — triple its current number — and that it begin providing security to seven other Afghan cities. It’s a proposal the international community shows little interest in. “It’s not a lot of money,” Holt said. “It wouldn’t be a lot of troops, but it could make the difference as to whether our efforts in Afghanistan succeed or fail.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: MSNBC. "Security Situation Perilous In Kabul" August 5, 2002.


2002: Violence in Kabul

Khajeh Mahmood Shah began his day like any other. He woke up before dawn this morning, said his prayers and went out to weed his tomato patch in Qala Khandar, a village less than five miles southeast of Kabul. Shah, 52, had only been working for about half an hour before he heard shouting, “Stop! Stop those men!” HE LOOKED UP to see a group of armed men dressed in ragged shalwar kameez robes bounding across his field, chased by Afghan security forces whose base they reportedly had tried to attack. Within three hours, the 11 men, as well as three members of the local security force, were killed in a fierce battle. A civilian wounded in the clash died later. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: MSNBC. "Violence In Kabul" August 7, 2002.


2002: India RPCV Nancy Hendricks worked in Afghanistan as as an elections monitor at the Loya Jirga

Nancy Hendricks spent two and a half months listening to the helicopters circling overhead. Hendricks served this summer with the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan and worked to stage the new government’s first elections since the U.S. ousted the Taliban for harboring terrorists believed to be responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. “I love helping people,” said Hendricks who started her career as a Peace Corps representative in India for two years when she was just 20 years old. “It’s totally thrilling and exhausting.” In her time in Afghanistan, she worked in many capacities, starting first as an elections monitor and ending as manager of operations. Her mission and that of other United Nations workers was to aid Afghanistan citizens of different ethnic groups, tribes and religions in selecting leaders for the new government. They did this through a “Loya Jirga,” which is an Afghan tribal council that has legislative and juridical authority. Hendricks’ life in this period consisted of working 14 to 18 hours each day and taking only one day off from April 30 to July 10. But these long hours were worth it to her, she said. She saw families reunited as refugees came home and found their loved ones. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Idaho State Journal. "Volunteer Helped Afghans Rebuild" September 8, 2002.


2002: Malaysia RPCV Michael P. Sabas says Afghans should get more than baseball

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference on Afghanistan. A key point he stressed related to what he called positive changes that have occurred for Afghan children since the United States intervened there. Rumsfeld said these children now can go to school, and at the end of the school day they play baseball. IN THE MID-1960s, after I completed a two-year stint in the American Peace Corps in Malaysia, I returned to the United States and became a Peace Corps trainer. I trained American volunteers to go to Kenya, Mala wi, Somalia, Swaziland and Malay sia. These mostly young people were well meaning, as I had been while in Malaysia, and saw themselves as being very different from the typical American. After all, we were going into the "developing world" to help "lesser developed" peoples of foreign countries to advance somehow. What most of us didn't realize was that we really were teaching purely American values to folks who may or may not have wanted to adopt those values. Most Peace Corps volunteers, however, returned to the United States much more changed than the people they served. We learned there were a lot of different values and customs out there, and some of them might even be superior to our American values." And we learned what our values really meant, not only to others but, more important, to ourselves. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Go Memphis. "Afghans Should Get More Than Baseball" September 8, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says U.S. should focus on Afghanistan, not Iraq

The United States should keep its focus on rebuilding Afghanistan rather than taking on Iraq in a war, according to an Afghan expert who spoke to McHenry County College students, staff and area residents Wednesday. "We are at a crossroads right now with what we are going to do with Afghanistan," said Thomas Gouttierre, keynote speaker Wednesday morning at the college's ABC Breakfast Series. Gouttierre serves as dean of International Studies and director of the Center for Afghan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He has spent time in Afghanistan working for the Peace Corps and with the United Nations studying Osama bin Laden. After the speech, Gouttierre said he believes bin Laden is dead. Gouttierre speculated on the al-Qaida's leader's death, citing bin Laden's need for kidney dialysis and his back problems. Hiding from the public eye as long as he has likely would exacerbate those problems, he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Chicago Daily Herald. "U.s. Should Focus On Afghanistan, Not Iraq, Scholar Argues" September 26, 2002.


2002: Morroco RPCV Sarah Chayes starts aid organization in Afghanistan

Sarah Chayes, who covered the fall of the Taliban for National Public Radio, found Afghanistan's plight so disturbing that she left journalism to start an aid organization in Kandahar. Now, a year after the U.S. war began, Chayes regularly encounters obstacles that plague the nation as it teeters between recovery and civil war: Traumatized survivors, anemic foreign aid, rampant corruption, widespread insecurity and most of all, greedy warlords consolidating power. Denied foundation stones to rebuild bomb-damaged homes recently, she found that Kandahar Gov. Gul Agha Shirzai had cornered the market by seizing the local quarry. Chayes talked her way past armed guards to see the U.S.-backed kingpin, a bear of a man who announced she was in luck: He was opening a cement factory. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Year After War Began, Afghans Still Suffering" October 7, 2002.


2002: Cowboy in our White House

My wife and I visited the game parks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1999, tenting near each park with our group. We’d never had the experience previously of AK-47-toting guards patrolling the camping area while we slept, but such is the world we live in; a world of dichotomy where we rich Westerners and the Oil-Potentates, carry cameras that can be pawned for what a Third-Worlder lives on for an entire year. Now we have an American President who was elected under very questionable means planning to send young American men and women into combat in Iraq using very questionable logic to do so. The current policy of this administration is erecting ever more definable walls between Americans and the rest of the world. Rather than reaching out in understanding and searching for ways to ease the sufferings of the millions of poor and ignorant, our country’s leaders are moving to use our military might to kill thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens (and who knows how many of our own military people) in search of the evil-doer who morphed from Osama to Saddam. The current resident of our White House has used the tragedy of 9/11 for his own crass political purposes: to deflect criticism from his inept handling of our economy; to reduce the Democrats to cowering butt-kissers, and to hide from the public that our Saudi Arabian “friends” were complicit in the 9/11 tragedy (a tragedy where no part of our government has been held accountable). The current resident of our White House has no policy to rid us of foreign oil addiction other than drilling in everything except someone’s teeth. Like his father, there is no “vision thing”. This US vs. the World will result in increased terrorism. The next time you take a vacation outside of North America, check on security arrangements. Better yet, see if you can hire the cowboy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.��Bob Klaput�RPCV/ Gr. 12, Afghanistan  Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "My Wife And I Visited The Game Parks In Kenya And Tanzania In 1999, Tenting Near Each Park With Our Group. We’d Never Had The Experience Previously Of Ak-47-Toting Guards Patrolling The Camping Area While We Slept, But Such Is The World We Live In; A World Of Dichotomy Where We Rich Westerners And The Oil-Potentates, Carry Cameras That Can Be Pawned For What A Third-Worlder Lives On For An Entire Year. Now We Have An American President Who Was Elected Under Very Questionable Means Planning To Send Young American Men And Women Into Combat In Iraq Using Very Questionable Logic To Do So. The Current Policy Of This Administration Is Erecting Ever More Definable Walls Between Americans And The Rest Of The World. Rather Than Reaching Out In Understanding And Searching For Ways To Ease The Sufferings Of The Millions Of Poor And Ignorant, Our Country’s Leaders Are Moving To Use Our Military Might To Kill Thousands Of Innocent Iraqi Citizens (And Who Knows How Many Of Our Own Military People) In Search Of The Evil-Doer Who Morphed From Osama To Saddam. The Current Resident Of Our White House Has Used The Tragedy Of 9/11 For His Own Crass Political Purposes: To Deflect Criticism From His Inept Handling Of Our Economy; To Reduce The Democrats To Cowering Butt-Kissers, And To Hide From The Public That Our Saudi Arabian “Friends” Were Complicit In The 9/11 Tragedy (A Tragedy Where No Part Of Our Government Has Been Held Accountable). The Current Resident Of Our White House Has No Policy To Rid Us Of Foreign Oil Addiction Other Than Drilling In Everything Except Someone’s Teeth. Like His Father, There Is No “Vision Thing”. This Us Vs. The World Will Result In Increased Terrorism. The Next Time You Take A Vacation Outside Of North America, Check On Security Arrangements. Better Yet, See If You Can Hire The Cowboy At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." October 20, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Jan Carolyn Hardy says Burka symbolizes faith, modesty and protection

Now that the Taliban are gone, many women have flung aside their burkas with tremendous relief. And many have not. The burka may seem a major concern to those of us who don't understand it, but to those living in a bombed-out nation, it undoubtedly takes a back seat to issues like poverty, health care and education. However you view it, the burka evokes powerful and conflicting emotions among those who live on the other side of its seams. It certainly did for the three Anchorage, Alaska, women who bid on the one from Sheberghan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Knoxville News Sentinel. "Burka Symbolizes Faith, Modesty And Protection" October 22, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff arrested at Senator Zell Miller's office for staging a sit-in protest

"We tried for months to get Zell Miller to listen to our concerns about war on Iraq. His response was, 'I have no desire to listen to people who disagree with me,'" Parko told the Atlanta Municipal Court at his arraignment. "Zell Miller is acting more like our ruler than our representative. This is supposed to be a government of, by and for the people, and we intend to see that it stays that way." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Creative Loafing Atlanta. "The Founding Of The Atlanta Five" November 13, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Michael Kinney dies in Milwaukee

Kinney was born in Utica, N.Y. He earned a degree in English, then later a master's degree in library science. He loved to travel; that was probably his most fun thing to do," said Timothy Kinney, his brother. "He was in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan when he was in his mid-20s. He was an English teacher there." Kinney, who became the first manager for the Milwaukee Public Library branch, was involved in its planning and development. He earlier oversaw library operations at the smaller, older Llewellyn Library, then across from Bay View High School. It closed in 1993 with the opening of the Bay View Library. "The Bay View Library is really a landmark in that community, and he was really the team leader," said Kathleen Huston, city librarian. "And he touched many lives, both at the level of our staff and in the community." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Kinney First Manager Of Bay View Library" November 14, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff sends an open letter to Senator Zell Miller on Iraq

We have been trying for months to see you in order to get answers to our questions about war on Iraq. You have consistently refused to meet with us stating that as an ex-Marine your job was to take orders from the President. We thought that your job was to represent us. All we were asking was that you listen to us, take our questions seriously, and do your best to get answers from the Administration. Finally, out of frustration, we staged a peaceful sit-in at your Atlanta office on November 4th. Our only request was for an appointment to meet with you anytime in November. Again you refused and when we refused to leave without an appointment, your staff called the police. We are deeply disappointed that you found it necessary to have us arrested rather than to meet with us. Does your refusal to see us mean that you only meet with people who agree with you? Why is it a crime to want answers to our questions? Something is very wrong with our government when elected officials refuse to meet with their constituents. All we are asking is that you get answers to our questions and report back to the people of Georgia before the Administration launches a war on Iraq. The people expect nothing less from their Senator. We have trying for the past month to schedule a meeting with you to no avail. We are here again today (Dec. 6) to ask for an appointment to see you. Please don't refuse to see us. We represent thousands of Georgians who need you to represent us and carry our message to the White House. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Atlanta Friends Meeting (Quakers) Peace Testimony. "An Open Letter To Zell Miller" December 6, 2002.


2002: Civil-Military Program Aims to Win Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan

While U.S. combat troops were storming mountain caves and scouring ghost villages in search of enemy fighters, another group of American soldiers plodded away all year at a less glamorous mission in violence-plagued Paktia province. Brick by brick, these civil affairs reservists have been rebuilding a trio of schools bombed to ruins years ago. In the process, they hope to win enough gratitude and loyalty from local Afghans -- some of whom openly resent the U.S. military presence -- to undercut any remnants of support for the defeated Taliban movement. "At first our teams might have had rocks thrown at them, but now we're starting to get cooperation -- someone will say there's a weapons cache here or there," said Col. Phil Maughan, commander of the U.S. civil-military program based in Kabul. "Gardez is still a very non-permissive environment, but people are starting to be more open than in the past." This month, the six-man hearts-and-minds operation in Gardez, the capital of this volatile eastern province, is to expand into something far larger, costlier and more ambitious. It will become the first of eight permanent civil-military action centers to be set up across Afghanistan, with up to 100 military specialists, security forces and possibly American civilians stationed in each one. American officials described the effort as a major shift in emphasis for the U.S. military mission here. They said most of the 12,000-plus U.S. troops in Afghanistan will continue to focus on the pursuit and elimination of Islamic terrorism. But they emphasized their work needs to be supplemented by a sustained program of economic reconstruction, involving hundreds of additional reservists, to shore up support for the weak Afghan government and to ensure that Taliban and al Qaeda forces do not make a comeback. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "Courting Afghanistan Brick By Brick" December 7, 2002.


2002: Former National Public Radio correspondent Sarah Chayes went to Afghanistan in October 2001 to report on the war. When the fighting - and the news assignment - was over, she sensed her responsibility was just beginning. Feeling a growing need to stop talking about conflict and start doing something about it, she stayed to serve as field director of Afghans for Civil Society, a non-profit group in Baltimore

By September, we'd held several shuras - or council meetings - with the villagers. Top of the repair list were houses rendered truly uninhabitable by the bombing - we weren't doing cracked ceilings. The villagers wanted to start with the mosque and the house of a crotchety, feisty elder called Hajji Baba. Least popular was our decision to build standard houses for everyone: three rooms, a veranda, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The decision was a result of the impossibility of getting good-faith descriptions of the houses that had been destroyed. At first, I was hurt and offended by the villagers' attitude. Abdullah has remained so. He's run rebuilding projects for 20 years and has seen boundless permutations of ingratitude, theft, and corruption. He's bitter about those of his people he feels dishonor the rest. Akokolacha's residents disgust him, and he shows it. I'd been describing Afghanistan to friends as a society suffering from collective posttraumatic shock. Now I was seeing the reality behind the metaphor. For a quarter century, Akokolacha inhabitants have been deprived of a future, of the wherewithal to think ahead, to husband resources for later wise investment. Their destiny - appalling suffering or sudden bounty handed out for no apparent reason - has come down upon them arbitrarily, usually at the hand of outsiders. So what matters is right now. And the villagers were trying to leverage as much as they could get right now. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Christian Science Monitor. "Rebuilding Akokolacha" December 10, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCVs Norma and Cendric Emory bring medical relief to a war-weary people

The couple, who recently returned to Southern California from a two-week stay in Afghanistan, are no strangers to the battle-scarred Central Asian nation. They met there in 1967, when Norma was a Peace Corps volunteer and Cedric worked as a family physician with the U.S. Public Health Service. They returned to Afghanistan in 1972 and 1976, to visit and train surgeons. But since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and subsequent war in Afghanistan, both have been itching to see what became of the Afghans, a people they grew to love for their kindness, toughness and hospitality. "The country is awe-inspiring," Norma said. "If you make an Afghan friend, you make a friend for life." After weighing the security risks, the couple decided this fall that the time was right. They flew to Dubai and then to Kabul aboard a jet owned by Ariana, the tiny national airline of Afghanistan. Upon arrival, they checked into the Kabul Hotel and soon discovered that, aside from government ministers and heavily armed bodyguards, they were the only guests. "We went in cold, on our own," said Cedric Emery, 63. "Kabul was almost the same except for 2 million more people and lots of taxis from Pakistan." The next day, Norma traveled to an orphanage she had heard about. She brought hats, gloves and scarves that had been donated by friends in Ventura and Santa Paula. The staff appreciated the gifts but were puzzled by the 60-year-old nurse. "They hemmed and hawed, not knowing what to do with me," she recalled. "I told them I would clean windows, organize classrooms, wash hair, whatever they needed." She noticed the children suffered from poor hygiene, so she set up a tooth brushing and cleanliness program. Many children suffered from flu, skin rashes and untreated stomach ailments. "They didn't go to a hospital until they were dying," she said. Norma cleaned up a dirty, empty room in the orphanage. Then she and an Afghan pharmacist went to the bazaar and ordered 11 metal beds to be made along with pillows and mattresses. They put in poles for IV bags and medicine cabinets, and painted the room. Soon they had a new clinic and found a doctor who would visit once a week. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Los Angeles Times. "Ventura Couple See Stoicism, Need On Visit To Afghanistan" December 20, 2002.


2002: Kazakstan RPCV Dave C. Eastman worked as Aid Worker in Afghanistan

Having come back to the ’States from Afghanistan in summer ’02, I now reside in California, and I came back to the Valley in November to visit my father, David L. Eastman of South Tamworth, who writes this newspaper’s Country Ecology column, and my uncles, Steve and Tom Eastman, publisher and assitant editor, respectively, of the Ear, for whom I worked as a reporter a few years ago upon my return from serving as an English teacher with the Peace Corps at a school in Kazakhstan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Conway Mountain Ear. "Former Ear Reporter Serves As Medical Relief Worker" December 26, 2002.


2003: Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff protests war over Iraq

Siceloff's entire life has been about peace. He was one of several people hauled to jail for holding a sit-in at Sen. Zell Miller's Atlanta office in November. He and four other anti-war activists refused to leave until they were granted a meeting with the senator, who has supported President Bush's plan to use military force in Iraq. "If you wait until it happens, it's too late," said Siceloff, now facing criminal trespass charges. "The time to act is now." So, as they have every Friday for the past few months, Siceloff and other protesters will picket outside Miller's office on Peachtree this afternoon. Sit-ins, protests and marches may seem like a young person's job, but Siceloff and others are showing that, in some, activism never mellows. As the nation creeps toward a possible war with Iraq, the ranks of anti-war protesters are growing. Plentiful among them are people in their 60s, 70s and older. And that's not all that unusual. "I can't think of an anti-war movement that hasn't started this way," said Charles Chatfield, a retired professor at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, who has studied and written about the history of anti-war sentiment. "They provide the leadership and experience." Chatfield said anti-war activism in every conflict after World War I has been spearheaded by people middle-aged and older. Even Vietnam War protests, which are historically portrayed as growing out of college campuses, started with groups of aging activists who were longtime members of peace and anti-war groups, he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "81-Year-Old Pickets Miller Over Iraq" January 10, 2003.


2003: A Peace Corps for Afghanistan

It is not too early to start thinking about what needs to happen in Afghanistan after the war stops. We dare not again simply walk away from this strategic corner of Central Asia when our short-term goals have been reached. Once the Afghans have chosen their leaders, and a responsible, working government is in place, the monumental task of rebuilding this devastated and war-torn nation can only be accomplished with massive help from the West. For centuries, Afghanistan's geopolitical location and strategic importance has rendered it a constant victim of internal and external power struggles, conflict and combat. The world ignores this reality at its peril. If there is a lesson to be learned from our earlier experience in this beautiful but wasted land, it lies in the need for intelligent, appropriate manpower. Afghanistan has been destroyed many times before and each time it was the human capital rather than the physical infrastructure that suffered most. In the past twenty or so years, the flight of more than five million refugees has denuded the country of its pool of responsible leaders, and its educated middle class. This is where a Peace Corps contingent can be highly useful. In the years 1962 to 1973, over 600 Peace Corps volunteers assisted the country in the fields of teaching, medicine, office management, auto mechanics and printers. Hydrology, textile arts, marble and alabaster fabrication and a host of individual projects worked out mutually between the Volunteers and their Afghan supervisors were other endeavors where they made a noticeable contribution. Afghans from every walk of life and in the entire country were introduced to different perspectives on old problems, and fresh ideas. In short, the Volunteers opened windows to the world beyond, much Marco Polo had done when he walked the Silk Road in the XIIth Century. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "A Peace Corps For Afghanistan" January 31, 2003.


2003: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre helps Cities in Afghanistan and Nebraska Forge "Sister Cities" Partnership

Forging links between U.S. and Afghan citizens is nothing new for Gouttierre, or for his university, where he also serves as director of its Center for Afghanistan Studies. One of the first things he did upon coming to Nebraska in 1974 was to establish a sister universities tie between UNO and Kabul University. Before that, he had lived in Afghanistan for almost a decade, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, then as a Fulbright Fellow and finally as executive director of the Fulbright Foundation's programs there. Indeed, Goutierre says, plans to link the two cities were in progress as early as the late 1970s, but then "the Communist coup took place and derailed that." With the Communist period followed by the rule of the Taliban, "we didn't have a chance to revisit that again until the Karzai government was established" after the Taliban were routed at the end of in 2001, he notes. Gouttierre said the new opportunity developed as the result of the U.S. antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan following in the wake of the deadly September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. "There are, I guess, some positive things that may develop from that horrendous event," he said. Gouttierre -- and Nebraska -- have been quick to seize the opportunity to strengthen ties. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: U.S. Department of State. "Cities In Afghanistan And Nebraska Forge "Sister Cities" Partnership" February 3, 2003.


2003: Afghanistan After the War bodes ill for Iraq

People remember Tony Blair's pronouncement that the world "will not walk away from Afghanistan, as it has done so many times before". But Afghans have also listened with astonishment as Americans portray their country's experience since the overthrow of the Taliban as a "success". Now the United States is priming its laser-guided bombs anew, and the attention of the world's media has swivelled to the deserts and oilfields of Iraq. Few in Kabul seem convinced by the repeated assurances ­ from the US government and its military, from the UN and Britain ­ that they will not be forgotten or allowed to lapse back into the bloodshed that prevailed after the occupying Soviet forces were driven out by the CIA-funded and CIA-armed mujahedin in 1989. There are plenty who dislike the presence of the Americans and their allies sweeping around their pot-holed streets in shiny new four-by-fours or army jeeps. This is a city that still has a deeply conservative strain ­ despite all the trumpeting about the liberation of women, many of those on the streets still wear burqas ­ and one whose capacity for trust has been corroded by past international betrayals. But a fear of abandonment ­ or at least a sharp fall-off in international support ­ is palpable and encompasses many international aid agency workers as well as residents. One agency official, a veteran of several previous conflicts, told The Independent: "The Pentagon and the White House have absolutely no policy on Afghanistan." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Independent. "Afghanistan After The War Bodes Ill For Iraq" February 24, 2003.


2003: Dennis Aronson and Susan (Girdler) Aronson married and joined the Peace Corps. Their assignment: Afghanistan.

We met many of our friends through the Peace Corps experience, including several students and Afghan colleagues with whom we have kept in touch over the years. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, a former student became a political prisoner and was threatened to be killed. He was released after Amnesty International intervened—and we became AI members. Many of our activities were focused on the third goal of the Peace Corps: bringing the world back home. We gave many presentations about the experience of living in and learning about a different culture and the way the experience made us appreciate what we have here in the United States: a democratic system of government with freedom of speech and movement, educational opportunities and an abundance of clean food and water. (I still appreciate being able to use water out of a tap and not having to boil drinking water.) Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pomona Magazine. "Dennis Aronson ’63 And Susan (Girdler) Aronson ’63" March 1, 2003.


2003: Almost 40 years ago, after graduating from Pomona College in 1963, Dennis Aronson and Susan (Girdler) Aronson were married and joined the Peace Corps. Their assignment: Afghanistan.

The Peace Corps experience had a profound influence on our lives, our careers, our subsequent volunteer work, many of our personal relationships and our appreciation of being United States citizens. We both taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) in Afghanistan from 1963 to 1965. After our Peace Corps service, we continued in TEFL in Saudi Arabia and in Lebanon. (I took my MA in TEFL at the American University of Beirut.) Back in the United States, Susan taught foreign students, and we were instrumental in establishing an ESL program in West Virginia. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pomona Magazine. "Dennis Aronson ’63 And Susan (Girdler) Aronson ’63" March 1, 2003.


2003: RPCV Duaine Goodno says the situation in Afghanistan and other countries could deteriorate quickly

My assessment: There may be some incidents around the world in the immediate aftermath of the attack against Iraq, then they will subside. If the U.S. starts taking casualties and uprisings occur elsewhere, then I think the situation could deteriorate rather quickly -- but not just here -- in many locations around the world. The good news is that a major upraising in Afgh is an opportunity to eliminate the enemy and the allied forces are well positioned to do exactly that. The best plan is to stay put and out of sight. Meanwhile we are taking certain precautions, just in case. We will stay alert and continue to assess the situation on a daily basis. Worried, no. Observant, cautious and prepared, always! As for safety. Herat is extremely safe, but not for women. The situation is very difficult with many of the Taliban rules being strictly enforced. Controlled for a long time by one warlord it is a country onto itself. Mazar has been extremely dangerous with factional fight among three warlords. There was a recent brokered cease fire, but it's too early to know if it will hold. Kabul has been extremely safe. I heard before I left that the situation here was deteriorating. I see no evidence of that being true. When I received the email today, saying again that the word is that the situation is deteriorating for women I reacted with alarm. I thought maybe that I was not seeing the problem so I asked. I asked several young women who work at the Gallery of Fine Arts. I was told that they feel very safe. One said that she was sometimes uneasy when at the market, but only there. I was also at Women for Women today, so I asked there. They have many women in and out all day long. I was told that there is no increase in their fear. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "After Several Queries In The Last Two Days On The Safety And Security In Afghanistan, I Thought It May Be Helpful To Write A Note About The Two Issues." March 11, 2003.


2003: Obituary for Afghanistan RPCV Carol Helm

Following the death of her husband, Gordon Garber, in 1972 Carol went back to school, earned her teaching degree and joined the Peace Corps. She served in Afghanistan for five years as an instructor at the Institute for Industrial Management, for the Ministry of Education in Kabul Afghanistan. Her major responsibility was teaching business skills to Afghan high school students. Having a love of Afghanistan she continued to live in Kabul, working in an administrative capacity for the US Agency for International Development for the University of Nebraska at Kabul University. She also served with the CARE/Medical Chief Medical Officer at Avicena Hospital in Kabul. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Friends of Afghanistan. "Carol Helm Died March 16, 2003 At Hospice Of The Valley. Born Carol Hope Shaw On December 20, 1922 In Lorain, Ohio, Carol Was A Valley Resident Since 1953." March 19, 2003.


2003: RPCV Scott Phair works with the BluePack Project to help children in Afghanistan

Phair encourages students to travel and to learn about world affairs and different cultures. He taught English as a Peace Corps. volunteer in Afghanistan when he was 22. He was in that country in 1975-76. Phair said the students worked hard to raise money for the BluePacks, and when they presented in public, they did so with grace, ease and professionalism. "They were wonderful," he said. "I'm very proud of these guys." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Central Maine Daily Sentinel. "Students Raise Money For Afghan Children" March 25, 2003.


2003: Brazil RPCV Dave Miller and Afghanistan RPCV Bob Hull's Firm win awards for socially responsible and humane public architecture

Miller and Hull met while studying architecture at Washington State University in Pullman in the late 1960s and became immediate friends. They graduated in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War and both joined the Peace Corps. Miller spent four years designing and building houses in a satellite city of Brasilia. Hull, meanwhile, traveled to Afghanistan. There he spent 24 months constructing mud brick schools in Kabul. Both said they saw modernism under the influence of regionalism. Both learned to design simply using limited materials and resources. Both learned to build small but efficient buildings. After returning to the United States, Miller worked in Chicago and Hull went to New York City. Eager to return to their native Northwest, they met up in 1976 when they took jobs with a Vancouver, B.C., architecture firm. They accepted the company's offer to open a branch office in Seattle. A year later, they became business partners and started Miller/Hull. In 1978, Miller and Hull moved from the Smith Tower to its current location, 9,000 square feet of open studio space in the Maritime Building. The company has grown to include two other partners — Norman Strong, an architect who oversees the management and business side of the firm and who became a partner in 1985, and Craig Curtis, who became a partner in 1994. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Puget Sound Business Journal. "Sturdy Foundations: Miller/Hull Partnership Finds Stability, Recognition During Soft Economy" March 31, 2003.


2003: If Afghanistan Stays Forgotten, It Won't Forget

Remember Afghanistan? It's the wretched Central Asian country that became a haven for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, which attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a year and a half ago. When U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban, al-Qaida's hosts, President Bush promised that Americans would make a sustained commitment to helping the country rebuild. And then he forgot about it. The United States said it would promote stability, foster economic growth and encourage a progressive indigenous government that would not shelter terrorists. At least that was the game plan the Bush administration offered for public consumption. But the United States is already reneging on its promise to Afghanistan. After Bush grandly signed a bill last December authorizing $3.3 billion for reconstruction over four years, he neglected to include any of that money in his 2003 budget request. Not one thin dime. Congress hastily penciled in $295 million, but that doesn't come close to Bush's pledge. No wonder poor Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's interim president, was reduced to a round of begging in Washington in February. "Don't forget us if Iraq happens," he implored members of Congress. But his plea for sustained support could not overcome the notoriously short American attention span. Afghanistan is already a distant memory for the news media, for most ordinary Americans and even for foreign-policy hands in the Bush administration. Whatever attention America has left for foreign policy will go to Iraq, where the fight for dollars for reconstruction is only beginning. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Atlanta Journal Consitution. "Atlanta Journal-Constitution April 27, 2003" May 1, 2003.


2003: Life after War: Under the guidance of the President of Afhanistan’s brother, Quyam Karzai, Sarah Chayes set out to rebuild one remote village- thirteen simple houses

Having built a distinguished career reporting from several war zones around the world for NPR, Sara Chayes faced an unexpected challenge while covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. “Why not stop reporting, and really help people?” asked one of her interview subjects. Sarah decided to do just that, and began the incredible odyssey that is described in this film, and is still in progress. Under the guidance of the President of Afhanistan’s brother, Quyam Karzai, Sarah set out to rebuild one remote village- thirteen simple houses. As America starts the rebuilding of Iraq, while continuing to shoulder some responsibility for Afghanistan, Life after War reminds us that rebuilding a village, much less a country is a complicated, humbling, nonlinear process. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Maryland Film Festival. "Life After War" May 2, 2003.


2003: Philip D. Needham's Memories of Afghanistan

During my junior year at St. Lawrence, I received a call from my brother, letting me know he had decided to apply to the Peace Corps. His excitement rubbed off on me, then a restless student wondering about my future path. To improve my chances, I volunteered to go anywhere in the world. I was assigned to a little-known, landlocked country that had attracted conquerors and empire-builders from all sides of the world, a country that was a major stop on the great trade and exploration routes of the past: Afghanistan. From 1964 through 1967, when I returned to St. Lawrence to complete my degree, I taught physical education at Kabul University, the country's only university, in its capital city. The entire experience made unforgettable impressions on my mind, even as it expanded my mind. Today I co-own Needham-Betz Thoroughbreds breeding farm in Lexington, Ky. My interest in horses was nurtured in the Peace Corps; how life unfolds for each of us is a mystery. Afghanistan has been the stage for the advance and decline of powerful religions. I hope it will someday rid itself of the Taliban and return to the progress and development it was enjoying when I was there nearly 40 years ago now. I live some part of every day shaped by my experiences there. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: St. Lawrence University. "Memories Of Afghanistan" May 26, 2003.


2003: Don't Soften the Army, Harden the Peace Corps - and send them into Afghanistan and Iraq

Washington and elsewhere about the possibility of rethinking the mission of the forty-two-year-old agency. This sentiment, by no means universal among the close-knit network of returned volunteers, let alone the current leadership of the agency, found its way into print this week in an op-ed article in the New York Times, written by Avi Spiegel, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1998 to 2000. There aren't any Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco today, because the country is considered too dangerous, and that's precisely the point Spiegel and those who share his view want to make. Spiegel says we need "a more active, less gun-shy Peace Corps," that "should equip itself to enter regions it now deems too dangerous." This move would drastically change the culture of the Peace Corps, so it is no surprise that many of the agency's stalwart veterans and friends are aghast at the idea. The Peace Corps has always considered itself independent of American foreign policy, and these people want it to stay that way. They would rather see war zone humanitarian work done by the UN and international NGO's. But of course, that's a major contradiction, because those organizations – even more than the Peace Corps – are completely independent of American foreign policy, and that's the problem. We need a force of humanitarian workers who will advance American foreign policy by performing genuine humanitarian service. There is no reason why there should be any conflict between the two. Siegel likens the relationship to that between wartime Iraqi military units and their embedded reporters. Both had jobs to do, and did them while establishing good working relationships that, in most cases, increased respect for each side among the other. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Town Hall. "Don't Soften The Army, Harden The Peace Corps" July 25, 2003.


2003: Somber reminders of danger

In the agency's 24-year history, eight of its workers have died while working on Mercy Corps projects. Three of them were lost during a horrendous four-day period earlier this month. One, Raz Mohammad, was killed Aug. 7 in an attack by gunmen near Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. On Sunday, a Mercy Corps vehicle was attacked in Eritrea. Program officer Habtemariam Tsegay Tegbaru and Haileab Simret Yosief, who had joined the agency nine days earlier, were killed. Their driver, Habtay Tesfaldet Berhe, was shot four times but is expected to recover. The attacks are a reminder that service to fellow human beings can be dangerous work -- especially when it involves the kind of emergency relief that is such a prominent part of Mercy Corps' portfolio. They also underline the bravery and sacrifice of these workers, many of whom are our fellow Portlanders, Oregonians and Northwesterners. One of the remarkable things about this community and region is the sense of service embedded in the culture. Peace Corps officials, for example, never tire of pointing out that the Northwest provides a disproportionate percentage of its volunteers. The attack in Afghanistan, sadly, also underlines a more sobering truth: The United States and the rest of the international community remain far from their goal of establishing a functioning, secure, modern state in Afghanistan. The attack on the humanitarian volunteer came in a region where local warlords, Taliban fighters and meddling agents from nearby Pakistan all compete for power in a near-chaotic atmosphere. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Oregonian. "Somber Reminders Of Danger" August 16, 2003.


2003: Letters from Afghanistan by RPCV Eloise Hanner

Eloise Hanner’s fantastic new book, Letters from Afghanistan, details her time spent in Afghanistan with the Peace Corps thirty years ago. The book is a compilation of the letters that she wrote to her mother during her time there, a format that is movingly effective and entertaining. Ms. Hanner was kind enough to share a little of her time and answer a few questions about her book and her writing. " Americans don't view Afghans as normal people who have the same dreams and ambitions as they do. They only think of crazy, turban-wearing extremists and beaten down women. They have no idea of the kindness of the people, what their daily lives are like or how they live. They are often amazed when I tell them that northern Afghanistan is a four-season climate with snow," says Hanner. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: My Shelf. "Before The Title" August 20, 2003.


2003: RPCV says No Stability in Afghanistan

"Soon Afghans will turn against the Americans the way they turned against the Russians," several people have told me in the past week. "And once that happens, nothing will stop them." A businessman added: "Even doctors and engineers took up arms against the Russians." In the past week, a murky dust-cloud ("Khaura") engulfed Kandahar. Popular wisdom associates this phenomenon with an imminent change of regime. Kandaharis were harking back to the fall of Daud Khan and Amanullah - when, they said, a similar dust storm obscured view for days. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Transom. "On The Ground. No Stability," August 28, 2003.


2003: Glimpses of Afghanistan: A Country Director looks back on the 1960's (Part 1)

I had been in-country only for a few days when I held my first staff meeting in the rather spare Peace Corps Office. The windows were open, it was mid-June, and I opened with what I thought were fairly commonplace remarks. In the wink of an eye, the room emptied. Everyone but me rushed out and gathered in the middle of the street. I was stunned. What had I said? I leaned out of the window and asked "What happened?" My entire staff, grinning from ear to ear, motioned me to come down and join them. Once I got to the street, they asked me " Didn't you feel the earthquake?" I said 'No.'. They laughed some more. "You will!" and indeed I did. The shocks occurred almost weekly. The really serious earthquakes that hit Tashkent and Dushanbe (then part of the Soviet Union) demolished them with 6.0 and 7.3 Richter quakes, but Kabul just had these 'minor' temblors. Early one morning in our second year in Kabul, I woke up, annoyed at my wife. "Stop scratching, you woke me up." "I'm wasn't scratching, Walter. It's just another earthquake, look at the lamp swaying above our bed. Get the kids up, and out into the garden. MOVE IT", she yelled as the shaking got worse. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "Glimpses Of Afghanistan: A Country Director Looks Back On The 1960'S (Part 1)" September 14, 2003.


2003: New Alameda County Superior Court Judge John Marshall True III served in Peace Corps in Nepal and in Afghanistan

Gov. Gray Davis Thursday named Berkeley attorney John Marshall True III to the Alameda County Superior Court. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, True is a partner with Leonard Carder LLP, an Oakland law firm. The new jurist didn’t take straight to law school after earning his bachelor’s degree. “I spent six years in the Peace Corps in Nepal and in Afghanistan,” he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Berkeley Daily Planet. "Davis Picks Berkeley Lawyer For Judgeship" September 19, 2003.


2003: RPCV Cheryl Ray is the director of a scholarship program to bring Afghan graduates to the United States

Ray has had a long love affair with Afghanistan. Ray served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1971 to 1972, and liked the country so much she stayed on as a businesswoman dealing in carpets and antiques until the Soviet invasion in 1979. In 2001, long after Ray moved to Walla Walla, a friend from the old days called, asking for a favor. Mary MacMakin, the director of Parsa, a non-governmental humanitarian organization in Afghanistan, had been kicked out of the country by the Taliban. She asked Ray to go back in to check on the organization's programs. Ray spent a week there and was nearly jailed before fleeing the country on the eve of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But a few months later, she was on her way back to Afghanistan to work for Parsa. She also joined the staff of Sima Samar, the Afghan Minister of Women's Affairs. While on Samar's staff, she was sent to Washington D.C., to lobby Congress, and obtained a pledge for $2.5 million to create women's development centers in Afghanistan. Fourteen of those centers are now open. ``There are millions of widows because of the war,' she said. ``That has created a crisis for families trying to take care of them, but it also creates an opportunity for them to be allowed to do something on their own.' Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Walla Walla Union Bulletin. "Despite Dangers, Woman Heads Back To Afganistan" October 1, 2003.


2003: Interview with Sarah Chayes: Danger, Determination and Destiny

Afghanistan is a compelling place ... . As for me, though I've been called a war reporter, I'm not drawn to conflict; I am drawn to what happens afterward, to the chaos and promise of societies recovering from war. In fact, the only moment I had a twinge of regret that I wasn't covering the Iraq war was the day Baghdad fell. I'm also rather spartan in my habits and tastes, and I think it's the ruggedness of this land and its people, their tenaciousness, their refusal to bend -- sometimes to a fault -- that draws me. And in contrast to other places I'd been, notably the Balkans, I felt strongly there were a few people acting in the true interests of their country. I felt I just had to throw my lot in with them. Chayes walks through Akokolacha seeking Haji Baba, for whom they were building a new home. How dangerous is it for you in Kandahar these days? We read reports of resurgent Taliban attacks, and a U.S. envoy warned recently that the Taliban may be planning larger attacks. Four people working for a Danish relief group were killed in Ghazni in central Afghanistan, and two members of the Afghan Red Crescent were killed in the same area along the Kabul-to-Kandahar road on which we see you driving in the beginning of the film. Is the security situation deteriorating? I don't think it's immediately dangerous for me in Kandahar: I'm well known around town, and I'm known to enjoy powerful backing. I am connected with the Karzais [the president's family], and I'm seen, if not as "an American," at least as connected with the Americans in some way. What's important to understand about this culture is that security is not based so much on protection -- on how many guards I might have -- as on the certainty of retaliation should anyone try something. For the moment, I enjoy that kind of deterrence. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PBS. "Interview With Sarah Chayes: Danger, Determination And Destiny" October 1, 2003.


2003: RPCV Ron Di Orio writes on "What form of government will work in Afghanistan?"

Now while some would assert that this is because of the backwardness of Afghanistan, or in the Marxian sense a population that has been stuck in feudalism and lacks the development of a bourgeois class, or because development has been thwarted due to religious reasons, from the point of nation building, it is perhaps the result that is important more so than the causes. That is, there is an identifiable consciousness of being a resident of Afghanistan amongst all the ethnic groups that comprise current day Afghanistan. Note, however, that I have hesitated to use the term "Afghan", and purposely so. This is because "Afghan" can be and often is virtually synonymous with "Pushtoon". And here lies one of the main problems as far as what the future government of Afghanistan might be. For it is safe to say that there can be little doubt that despite the consciousness previously alluded to in the above paragraphs as existing amongst all ethnic groups, no modern independent state in the area comprising Afghanistan would exist had it not been for the existence of the "Afghan" Pushtoon/Pukhtoon tribes that gave identity to Afghanistan. What has all this to do with the question at point, the form of the future government of Afghanistan, the reader by now undoubtedly bored with the above exposition may be asking? I have presented the above in order to demonstrate that the central problem with the form of future government in Afghanistan is the Pushtoon question. There can probably never be a successful government in Afghanistan that more or less takes into account the needs and desires of all the population of Afghanistan as long as the only "Afghans" are the Pushtoons. This would be like saying the only "Americans" are those of white English Protestant descent, despite the fact that the population of the United States would be, by this standard, largely composed of non-"Americans", just as the majority of the population of Afghanistan is composed of non-"Afghans", although Pushtoons remain the largest single ethnic group. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Personal Web Page. "What Form Of Government Will Work In Afghanistan?" October 13, 2003.


2003: Turkey RPCV Author and Ambassador Robert Finn to lecture on Afghanistan

Finn was the first U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in over 20 years and is currently the Ertegun Visiting Professor in the Near East Studies Department at Princeton University. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikstan from 1998 until July 2001, and has held diplomatic positions in Turkey, Pakistan and Croatia. He also opened the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1992. Shahrani said Finn resigned as ambassador in protest of recent U.S. activity in Afghanistan, making way for David Sedney, former director for Afghanistan at the National Security Council, to assume the role of ambassador. "(Finn) was a trusted man among the Afghan people," Shahrani said. "He is a man of principle." Shahrani said he hopes the former ambassador speaks his mind. "I hope the real story of what the United States war on terrorism in Afghanistan has been like during the last two years is discussed." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: IDS News. "Former Diplomat To Visit Iu" October 22, 2003.


2003: Afghanistan RPCV Chet Orloff lectures on "The History of History"

Orloff will host a conversation on "the history of history" in Oregon, beginning with the earliest forms of remembering and documenting life among the first Oregonians based a record of their presence on the earth and the rocks, and in their tools. Throughout his career, which began in Afghanistan as a Peace Corps teacher, Orloff has worked to create a sense of place. His work includes teaching, writing, exhibit design and development, and interviewing. He is the current managing director of the Pamplin Institute, and initiated Oregon's Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Crossroads Lecture Tapsformer Ohs Director For Oregon History Talk" November 13, 2003.


2003: Former Director Mark Schneider, to testify on Afghanistan Constitution and Prospects for Democracy at House Committee on International Relations

The next major step in the political reconstruction of Afghanistan, as outlined by the Bonn Conference agreement of 2001, is adoption of a constitution in December and subsequent national elections for government leaders and parliament. The draft constitution, crafted by a 35-member commission, establishes a governmental structure with a strong elected presidency, subject to substantial checks and balances by an elected parliament. The draft sets up a two-chamber parliament, to be elected one year after the presidential elections. The draft gives the president the ability to appoint one-third of the seats for the upper chamber (Meshrano Jirga, House of Elders), and stipulates that half his appointments should be women. The lower house (Wolesi Jirga, House of People) is to be fully elected. The draft constitution designates former King Zahir Shah as ceremonial "father of the nation," but gives him no formal role in governance. The draft does not impose Sharia (Islamic law), but it does attempt to satisfy Afghanistan's conservative clerics by stipulating that laws should not contradict Islamic law. Protections for minorities are also written into the draft. However, some observers say the draft constitution does not provide sufficient protections for human rights, such as for freedom of speech and religion, and that it places the freedoms of Afghans in the hands of judges educated in Islamic law, rather than civil law. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Committee on International Relations. "News Advisory" November 19, 2003.


2003: Former Peace Corps Director Mark L. Schneider testifies before Congress on Situation in Afghanistan

The Afghan government, the UN and the U.S. and coalition forces all are committed to the Bonn schedule and to building democratic institutions. Dedicated soldiers, diplomats, USAID, UN and non-governmental aid workers are risking their lives trying to help Afghans build a nation free of Al Qaeda, Taliban, and renegade warlords. The murder of a young UN refugee worker this past weekend in Ghazni, a car bomb last week outside the UN office in Kandahar and a rocket attack on the UN disarmament event days after I left Gardez are some of the latest examples of the terror strategy Taliban and al Qaeda have used to attack the soft target of international civilian agencies and NGOs and derail reconstruction and the political transition. Nevertheless, much has been accomplished: more than 2 million refugees have returned since 2001 (although several million more still remain outside Afghanistan); the Karzai government has established basic administration and ended flagrant government abuse of human rights (although abuses by warlords still persist); and immunizations have reached some 90% of children, many of whom have the chance to go to school for the first time. However, a lack of security has made more sweeping progress impossible. It forced postponement of the Constitutional Loya Jirga (the traditional national assembly) from September to December 10. Even that date is extremely tenuous since the copies of the draft Constitution still had not reached all provinces until a week ago. Holding Presidential elections next June will likely prove even more challenging. The election of a Parliament, crucial to establishing a functioning democracy, is likely to slip until 2005. Democracy requires participation, open campaigning without intimidation and public discussion, all of which require a minimum of stability. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "Testimony Of Mark L. Schneider, Sr. Vice President, International Crisis Group To The House International Relations Committee Hearing On Afghanistan" November 19, 2003.


2003: Glimpses of Afghanistan: A Country Director looks back on the 1960's (Part 2)

When I first arrived in Afghanistan there were more than 50 peace Corps nurses working in hospitals in all the major cities. Within a few months, however, they started to quit in droves. " I can’t take it anymore," one told me. "I came here to help, but instead the Afghan doctors are chasing me all around the OR., there are no clean needles, no alcohol, the autoclave doesn’t work, and they let the cholera vaccine spoil in the open air instead of refrigerating it. Send me home!" I warned them it would cost them $ 575 if they quit voluntarily. "I don’t care," they said. One nurse who complained vigorously about her Chief Nurse ( an Afghan male nurse) called him an s.o.b. I remonstrated by asking if she never found that to be the case where she came from in East St. Louis. "No!" she answered me. So I gave her 20 ¢ in American money and asked her to send me a postcard at Christmas reporting on what she found when she came home. Sure enough, a picture of the arch above St. Louis showed up a few months later in which she said, yes, it was just as bad in Missouri, and she wished she were back in Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "Glimpses Of Afghanistan (Part 2)" November 30, 2003.


2003: Colombia in Kabul by Former Director Mark L. Schneider

In early November, traveling in Afghanistan, the smell, feel and magnitude of the drug threat evokes Colombia. We are increasingly seeing both government-affiliated militias and armed insurgent groups in Afghanistan become reliant on poppy; just as every guerrilla and paramilitary group in Colombia descended into financial dependence upon the cocaine trade. A security vacuum in the countryside gave illegal military forces free reign at a time when the central government had abandoned rural Colombia and offered little opportunity for economic development. Similarly, insecurity in rural Afghanistan today is rising as resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda forces carry out hit-and-run terror attacks from bases in Pakistan as well as redoubts in Afghanistan. Poppy production is believed to finance some of the opposition forces operating from within Afghanistan. Some Afghan officials and commanders are also enmeshed in the drug trade. Effective law enforcement is virtually nonexistent. At present, the coalition military forces of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) don't have policing the drug trade in their mandate, and there are only a few token programs aimed at alternative economic development Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Times. "Colombia In Kabul" December 4, 2003.


2003: From Radio Reporter to Relief Worker, Sarah Chayes Wanted to Make a Difference

Chayes lives with other relief workers in a compound, where she grows her own vegetables. She also has two cows, which means fresh milk. She even has a generator, which means a hot shower — when it works. She is now the field director at Afghans for a Civil Society and was profiled in a film made by an American, Brian Knappenberger, to raise awareness about Afghan society. The filmmaker showed Chayes during a typical day, trying to convince some local officials that she needed foundation stone to rebuild houses. When the Taliban were driven out of this region almost two years ago, the United Nations and various relief agencies came in to help, but it is a struggle. There is no government to speak of in many towns and provincial warlords cause further destruction as they fight each other. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: ABC News. "Rebuilding Afghanistan" December 5, 2003.


2003: Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes discovers the exhilarating power speaking the truth as she sees it

"Wouldn't you come back and help us?" The gentle question, almost an afterthought, struck me like the bolt from a crossbow. It was after dinner with one of my favorite, if sparingly used, sources during the post-9/11 conflict in Afghanistan. Aziz Khan Karzai, uncle of President Hamid Karzai, is a spry gentleman, full of good humor and energy, whose mischievous glance camouflages a penetrating regard upon the situation of his country – stripped of illusions. This was in January 2002. I had completed a long rotation for National Public Radio, reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan. For once I was wrapping up with some kind of dignity, making the rounds and drinking a last cup of tea with friends and contacts. Aziz Khan had invited me for dinner the night before I flew out. We talked about the steep road that lay ahead for fledgling Afghanistan. After dinner, I got up to leave, and then came his question: "Wouldn't you come back and help us?" My ears heard with surprise what my mouth said without hesitation. "Yes." Surely it's not just me. Surely all of us struggle with the value of what we do as journalists – with the impact (or lack of it) of our work on the lives of the people we report about, or on any people for that matter; on the quality of public policy in our field; in short, with whether we, as journalists, help. Surely all of us come to some sort of accommodation – more or less self-deluding – with this problem. Over time, freelancing in Paris, I had come to my own: that given the paucity of foreign news in the U.S. media, just being a foreign correspondent was a kind of subversion. If by the end of my career, I told myself, I had convinced some Americans that the United States is not the only country in the world, I would have achieved something. Reporting for NPR, long a goal for me, further hushed my concerns. But after an exciting period covering the Balkans, beginning with Kosovo, I began to feel the old doubts return. A succession of food stories in early 2001 – the mad cow crisis, a vegetarian three-star restaurant, an effort by Mondavi to buy out a Languedoc vineyard, etc. – gave voice to an indictment: "What am I doing? Spending my time entertaining well-to-do Americans with the foibles of well-to-do Europeans." I began groping for alternatives. Then came Sept. 11. What else would one want to be at that moment than an American foreign correspondent with some experience of the Muslim world? And yet it proved a difficult juncture to be an American journalist. "The worst period in my entire career," a dear friend confided as we were comparing notes afterwards. He sent me a list of story ideas his editors had turned down. "They simply didn't want any reporting," he explained. "They told us the story lines, and asked us to substantiate them." CNN correspondents received written instructions on how to frame stories of Afghan suffering. A BBC reporter told me in our Quetta hotel the weekend before Kabul fell how he had had to browbeat his desk editors to persuade them that Kandahar was still standing. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Alternet. "Breaking Ranks In Afghanistan" December 11, 2003.


2003: Breaking Ranks in Afghanistan By Sarah Chayes

So by March of 2002, I found myself field director (an invented title) of Afghans for Civil Society, an organization founded by Qayum Karzai, the president's older brother, in 1998, but non-existent inside Afghanistan up to that time. The job amounted to inventing an NGO. We did so with blissful disregard for the usual rules. The firewalls most NGOs erect between development work and political advocacy haven't existed at ACS. And that's why, for me, it works. It's no use deluding oneself. I am not a medic, nor an engineer, nor do I possess any other concrete skill "useful" to people. This incapacity is what held me up when I toyed with the idea of leaving journalism before. What I know how to do, what I do almost compulsively, is look at things, analyze them, and talk about them. Consequently, please understand: I am not attending the bedsides of Afghan mine victims or shepherding a flock of children at an orphanage. Of course, ACS does run development projects. We rebuilt a village, for example: ten houses and a mosque, bombed to rubble during that final intense battle for the airfield outside Kandahar when the Taliban regime was in its death throes. I visited the building site every day, cajoling children to help clear the debris by making truck noises with them and loading their outstretched arms. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: AlterNet. "Breaking Ranks In Afghanistan" December 11, 2003.


2003: Washoe County school trustees decided to make Afghanistan RPCV Paul Dugan permanent superintendent but postponed a formal hiring vote until next month because of the state’s open meeting law

Washoe County school trustees decided Tuesday to make Paul Dugan permanent superintendent but postponed a formal hiring vote until next month because of the state’s open meeting law. Trustees unanimously voted not to search nationally for a new superintendent, less than a week after many Hispanic and black community leaders asked that Dugan be hired immediately. He took over after Jim Hager, superintendent since January 1999, left in June to join the University of Nevada, Las Vegas faculty. “Rest assured, there will be no regrets,” Dugan told the trustees Tuesday. Trustees said they have been impressed with Dugan’s handling of minority student and parent issues, including his formation of a committee to study racial unrest at Hug High School. Dugan was supported by teachers’ and administrators’ unions. “One of the smartest things Jim Hager did was that he saw something in Paul Dugan and groomed him for this job,” said Tim Fuetsch, the principal at Towles Elementary and the president of the administrators’ union. “Paul Dugan knows this district. He is the man for the job.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Reno Gazette-Journal. "School Board To Hire Dugan" December 14, 2003.


2003: RPCV Barry Rosen returns to Afghanistan to serve in Kabul University

After Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Rosen pushed for Columbia to resume its work there, playing a constructive role in a wounded land. He laments the decision by the Bush administration to devote enormous energy and resources in Iraq, rather than Afghanistan, which he says is "the homeland of terror" when it could be a "showcase for democracy." BUT Teachers College, Unicef and the ministry are making strides on their own. The partnership has already created first-grade texts in a half-dozen subjects, including Islam, in both of the country's languages, Dari (a close cousin of Farsi) and Pashto. "Afghanistan wants both languages spoken by every Afghan," Mr. Rosen said. "That is one of the essential ways to build a nation." Once the current alert is lifted, Mr. Rosen and a retired professor will relocate to Kabul, with additional faculty rotating in and out. Their task: to get an education system up and running, even if it means "emergency teacher training" for anyone with a ninth-grade education and classrooms in tents, he said. On his short visits to Kabul so far, Mr. Rosen has been teased for speaking Dari with a Tehran accent and is called aqay-e Irani, or Mr. Iran. "It's the funniest thing given my history," he said. Yet Mr. Rosen has told no one in Kabul of his ordeal as a hostage and says he cannot imagine doing so. "They only care that I'm there, that I know something and that I'm trying to be of assistance," he said. "These people have suffered such ruthlessness and devastation. Why should I burden them with my stupid little story?" Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: New York Times. "Returning To Danger, Desire To Serve Unquenched" December 19, 2003.


2003: Jack Cole lived in Kabul and traveled extensively throughout the country tending to the health of the Peace Corps volunteers. Next was Swaziland for one year, where Jack split his time between a government hospital and the volunteers. Then on to New Delhi for two years in India, again responsible only for keeping the volunteers healthy.

In 1968 he was accepted as a staff physician for the Peace Corps. In August of that year Jack, Lynn, five of the children and the family dog left for Afghanistan for a two year posting. They lived in Kabul and traveled extensively throughout the country tending to the health of the Peace Corps volunteers. Next was Swaziland for one year, where Jack split his time between a government hospital and the volunteers. Then on to New Delhi for two years in India, again responsible only for keeping the volunteers healthy. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Personal Web Site. "Jack Cole Grew Up In Matamoras, A Small Town On The Delaware River In Northeast Pennsylvania. His Father Was A Freight Conductor On The Erie Railroad. Many Other Family Members Also Worked For The Railroad." December 27, 2003.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Nina Davidson Arnold publishes Journal while fighting Ovarian Cancer

Nina Arnold had a successful career in textiles, mostly weaving, following a two-year Peace Corps stint with her husband in Afghanistan during the 1960s. Since then, they have traveled widely in the United States, exhibiting her work at local and national art shows from April through November each year. During the 1990s, however, Arnold's health deteriorated. To conserve her strength, she switched from weaving to less stressful fiber and paper collage artwork. It was in May 1997 that she was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer, which means that the disease had already metastasized and traveled to other parts of her body. She started to keep a journal of her battle with cancer, which helped greatly over the two years it took her to write her book. In the first entry, May 24, 1997, she noted that she was somewhat fearful about her upcoming surgery -- her first -- but that she hoped her husband's support and her religious faith would see her through. That first surgery -- a total abdominal hysterectomy -- was 90 per cent effective, she later wrote, leaving two inoperable spots of cancer, one on her liver and one on her diaphragm that required postoperative chemotherapy. So she started on the first of 10 different courses of chemotherapy over the next 51/2 years. She lost her hair within two weeks and eventually became adept at wearing wigs and hats. "I attempted to deal with the disease by enjoying any pleasurable moment that presented itself," she wrote. "I relaxed on the deck, practiced the piano, visited with friends, and spent time in my studio creating artwork." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Southern. "Ben Gelman: Woman Publishes Journal While Fighting Ovarian Cancer" January 8, 2004.


2004: Lance Holter built wells in Tunisia in 1972-73 and is now a real-estate broker and a building and plumbing contractor on Maui. The Peace Corps, he says, should "wage peace," not war.

Years after the Peace Corps, he traveled through Afghanistan in the winter of 1978 before the assassination of the last pro-Western leaders and the beginning of the Soviet occupation. "I witnessed the last days of a wonderful thriving culture where women taught at schools, practiced medicine, went to college and even wore skirts without veils. The fruit stands and marketplaces were fantastic and bustling, the farms productive (and) the people had hope. It was a safe and an amazing place," Holter said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Honolulu Advertiser. "Lance Holter Built Wells In Tunisia In 1972-73 And Is Now A Real-Estate Broker And A Building And Plumbing Contractor On Maui. The Peace Corps, He Says, Should "Wage Peace," Not War." January 25, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Robert P, Moynihan dies in Boston

After graduation, Mr. Moynihan served in the Peace Corps and was stationed overseas in Afghanistan. He enlisted in the Army in 1976 and retired in 1996 with the rank of master sergeant. During his 20 years, he served as an intelligence analyst and in the Persian Gulf War. He was fluent in five languages. He received a Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, six Army Good Conduct Medals, three NCO Professional Development Ribbons, an Army Service Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons and an Army Superior Unit Award. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Herald. "Obituary; Robert P, Moynihan, 62, Army Master Sergeant" January 29, 2004.


2004: Photos from Afghanistan by RPCV John Patrick Patten

I spent the first fifteen months in post-Taliban Afghanistan working for a humanitarian aid agency in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. It was a remarkable experience, as I was fortunate enough to travel farther afield on surveys and more extensively around the country than most of the other foreigners there. It became home in a way and I still remember fondly the people and places we visited. I took over a thousand photographs during my travels on a variety of topics and would like to present some of them here, as it was a labor of love. Afghanistan is a beautiful, complex country at the crossroads of history, with wonderful people despite the well-documented problems. I tried to take some photos of normal life and people enjoying themselves at times instead of solely the war damage and suffering so common in the mainstream media, who often did not venture outside of Kabul. There is suffering, and countries must work not to abandon the promises we made (this is happening now), but believe it or not people there do get through life with some of the same joys, difficulties, and family celebrations that we all have, in spite of the hardships most of us do not understand. How well you are doing often has to do with who you are, where you are, and in which time period. Many localized coping strategies had developed, however they are under strain now. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Personal Web Site. "Photos From Afghanistan" February 3, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Daniel Koch gives global artisans an economic edge

Koch began to build his credentials for such an undertaking as far back as the early 1970s, when he first lived in Afghanistan as a Peace Corps volunteer. He's been back to visit since then, traveling in Pakistan, India, Indonesia and the Philippines over a period of 20 years while developing relationships with manufacturers for his furniture import business. One can easily imagine this tall, lean, unassuming man with his mat of reddish hair quietly observing and and earning the trust and perhaps friendship of his interlocutors. On his latest journey to Afghanistan, Koch found more candidates for microcredit than one agency could handle. He met a potter in Kunduz who sold his wares to local markets for little money. And now a main road leading out of his town is impassable due to bomb damage, obliterating hope of reaching a larger market such as Kabul since the potter can't afford the more expensive route over the mountains. "A micro loan would enable him to send a shipment out," Koch explains. "And if he had good new designs -- which we worked on together a bit -- he could theoretically sell his goods to a larger marketplace." Koch also spoke to a leather tanner in Kunduz whose production slows to a trickle in the winter because he has trouble drying the leather. He said all he needed was a drying space with a roof on it, not necessarily even a building, to continue his production during the winter months. That too could be obtained with a micro loan, Koch said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Portland Tribune. "Trade Moves" February 17, 2004.


2004: When the position became available at the Center for Women, I actively lobbied for it," recalls Afghanistan RPCV Jennet Alterman. "I had learned from experience in the Peace Corps that the only way to bring about positive sustainable success for individuals is to do it at the grassroots, village level and to start by educating people.

"I’m a typical Southerner," says Alterman. "I grew up here in Charleston and with Southern expectations for what women can and can’t do, but I’d never faced direct gender discrimination. Then, while I was away at an all girls’ college, I was given an opportunity to attend a [prestigious, Southern] men’s college for one year." It was a year that forged the direction of Alterman’s life. "This was back in the early 70s when many single-sex colleges were grappling with going coed, and I was one of ten ‘trial’ women. When I got to this men’s school and people said to me: ‘You can’t do that because you are a woman,’ it was a shock to my system. Luckily, instead of running into a corner and biting my tail I got angry. And it was a wonderful learning curve for me." Alterman’s first job out of school taught her even more about gender inequality. "Television broadcasting was one of many fields in which men were, and in many places still are, routinely paid more than women for the same work." Then, as a Peace Corps volunteer: "My assignment in the late 70s was to work in health education in Afghanistan. I ran headlong into health discrimination—reproductive health inequities that were shocking to me as an American and a woman. So what I found between my first three experiences as a young woman was just how really difficult it was to be a woman on this planet. And it’s been reinforced by other jobs that I’ve held." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: C4Women. "One Left Behind" March 1, 2004.


2004: Caryn Giles Lawson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan in the late '70s and loves Afghan food for sentimental reasons and simply because it's delicious!

"I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan in the late '70s. I love Afghan food for sentimental reasons and simply because it's delicious! e-mailed Caryn Giles Lawson of Los Gatos. Lawson included a recipe for firni, an Afghan custard that she says has a looser consistency than ``American-style puddings. She eats the pudding cold or slightly warm, and she recommends grinding your own cardamom seeds. While the pudding may be poured into individual serving dishes, a communal serving dish is more Afghan-style, Lawson explains. ``Enjoy, or as Afghans would say, `Nosh-I Jahn!' Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Mercury News. "A Culinary Trip To Afghanistan" March 17, 2004.


2004: Sarah Chayes to kick off Lecture Series

Chayes will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 8 at VCU’s Grace St. Theatre, 934 W. Grace Street. Chayes joined NPR as a foreign correspondent in 1997, and reported from Paris, Algeria, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, Serbia and Bosnia. Her work also brought her to Afghanistan, where she covered the fall of the Taliban. Afterwards, Chayes left NPR and journalism to focus on Afghans for Civil Society, a non-governmental, non-profit aid organization in Kandahar. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: VCU. "Hans Blix, Sarah Chayes To Kickoff Vcu Lecture Series" March 24, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Dennis Aaronson will discuss his eight years of service in the Peace Corps

Dennis Aaronson will discuss his eight years of service in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon from 6 to 7 p.m. May 14 at the Elk Grove Community Library, 8962 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Sacramento Bee. "Middle East Talk Set" April 18, 2004.


2004: Dan Lutz, who has done Peace Corps work in Afghanistan and Iran, builds Arabic language program in Denver schools

Dan Lutz is familiar with building a language program. The head of West High's Center for International Studies already has done it at the school, most recently with Chinese, another less commonly taught language. Arabic, though, presented its own particular issues. Simply finding a teacher delayed the start of the program by a semester. High school-level textbooks in Arabic are hard to find. "So far, we haven't found them," Lutz said of the books. So Neji Sandi, the teacher, "is writing the entire thing," including objectives and goals for a four-year program. When complete, it will include four years of Arabic language, a middle school component, Arabic culture classes and student trips to the Middle East. Not that Lutz has much money to spend on his ambitious plan. "We're doing it on a shoestring," he said. Some leftover grant money, about $4,500, planted the seed for the program a year ago. Samba N'Diaye, foreign language supervisor for Denver Public Schools, called Lutz and asked about interest in Arabic. "That was all I needed," said Lutz, who has done Peace Corps work in Afghanistan and Iran. "I ran all over the school with surveys, 'Who wants to take Arabic?' " He found enough interest to begin a class in January 2003, but that fell through when a teacher wasn't available. Lutz started talking with members of Denver's Islamic Center and with Crescent View. He also approached Sandi, who teaches math at the Community College of Denver. The Center for International Studies Foundation, which typically helps students with money for overseas trips, kicked in a matching $4,500 grant. Lutz estimates it will take four to five years to get the program fully up and running - if he is able to secure more grant money to hire Sandi full time. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rocky Mountain News. "Attention Turns To Arabic" April 26, 2004.


2004: Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes continues work in Afghanistan

Chayes, visiting the United States as she occasionally does, will give a talk at Stanford University to describe her work, and the reality of a place too often covered in less than two minutes on the television news. She was saying goodbye to the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he asked if she would stay. "I was putting on my coat and it was like a flash," Chayes said during a telephone interview from New York. "It's not as if I hadn't been toying with the idea, but I'm not a doctor, I'm not an engineer, and I didn't want to be anybody's P.R. officer." With Karzai's request in front of her, she quit her job with National Public Radio and went to work for Afghans for a Civil Society, an organization working to rebuild the country and to build new relationships with the outside world. Chayes concentrated much of her effort in one village, negotiating and maneuvering through the complicated system of traditional political and social structure. Her new project is building a dairy cooperative, but her goal is to encourage grass-roots development that in turn will foster political change. With the dairy cooperative, "we're working them back to collective decision making, to have meetings with member farmers, to think about ways to invest, to think and plan ahead," she said. Success will mean an economic alternative to growing opium poppies. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Mercury News. "Journalist Turns To Afghan Aid" May 8, 2004.


2004: Mark L. Schneider, Sr. testifies to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Afghanistan – Continuing Challenges"

Al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks on UN, NGOs and Afghan government officials have nearly doubled over the past four months compared to last year. More NGO staff were killed in these first four months than all of 2003. Two schools recently rebuilt with international aid were burned down in a village south of Kandahar and a senior Muslim cleric critical of the Taliban was assassinated in Kandahar city. And it is not limited to the south and southeast. Only last week, two British private security contractors and an Afghan elections worker were killed in the north eastern province of Nuristan. A year ago, Secretary Rumsfeld spoke of having US troops leaving Afghanistan by June of this year. There needs to be a clearer understanding that achieving real security on the ground is the only way to pave the way for a successful exit strategy. We were pleased to note that last month there was an increase of some 2,000 US Marines, bringing US forces up to 15,500. These troops need to be there-and maybe even more troops need to be there until Afghan security forces are capable of defending the country against whatever remains of an armed al-Qaeda and Taliban military forces. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US Senate. "Testimony By Mark L. Schneider, Sr. Vice President, International Crisis Group, To The Senate Foreign Relations Committee On "Afghanistan – Continuing Challenges"" May 12, 2004.


2004: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre testifies to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Afghanistan – Continuing Challenges"

The continuing security, political, and economic challenges to the reconstruction of Afghanistan remain formidable. The most critical is security. It negatively affects all other factors. The lack of security is perhaps the only factor that might ensure a return of a stateless society to Afghanistan. The three primary security threats are terrorists, drug lords, and war lords. These are holdovers, protagonists, and allies from the period of protracted civil war in Afghanistan. Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort. They gain financial support from drug interests. These elements threaten Afghan teachers, students, election workers and other government workers, even shopowners and farmers. They threaten them with death or other bodily harm if they teach, go to school, register to vote or assist the election process, or appear to side with the government. International assistance workers and military forces are also threatened; some have been killed. The continuing capacity of these terrorists to intimidate slows and even terminates reconstruction efforts. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US Senate. "Testimony Of Thomas E. Gouttierre Dean, International Studies And Programs Director, Center For Afghanistan Studies Before The Senate Committee On Foreign Relations" May 12, 2004.


2004: Schneider and Gouttierre say Terrorists put progress at risk in Afghanistan

Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said the al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists who were routed following the Sept. 11 attack on the United States have been "replenished and reorganized." "The continuing capacity of these terrorists to intimidate slows and even terminates reconstruction efforts," he said. Gouttierre and Schneider testified last week at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on reconstruction. "Despite many successes on the ground, the prospect that we could fail in Afghanistan is very real," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the committee. "Too little assistance to Afghanistan has been provided, and often, it has come too late to address the daunting needs of that country." Gouttierre and other experts told the committee that Afghanistan's security faces a threefold threat from resurgent terrorists, from warlords who control especially the rural areas and from drug lords whose poppy crop accounts for half of the country's gross domestic product. Men who want legitimate jobs "are vulnerable to those who would employ them away from the process of reconstruction into the militias of warlords and the cultivation of poppies," Gouttierre said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "Terrorists Put Progress At Risk In Afghanistan" May 16, 2004.


2004: Sarah Chayes on Afghanistan @ Stanford University

Sarah Chayes, former NPR correspondent and field director of Afghans for Civil Society, spends each day working to improve conditions for ordinary Afghans in the heart of Taliban country. In less than two years, flanked by a team of dedicated Afghans, she has been responsible for rebuilding homes and schools, creating employment for about 300 people and launching today's most popular local radio station in Kandahar. Currently, her energy is devoted to developing a dairy cooperative that will include over 150 families. Her talk will examine some of the myths and hard truths about the reconstuctions of Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Muslim Wake up. "Sarah Chayes On Afghanistan @ Stanford University" May 20, 2004.


2004: Sarah Chayes says "It's hard for an American -- even as "embedded" an American as me -- to fully guage the joint effects of disillusionment and the Iraq prison scandal on Afghans' attitude toward the current regime and its US shepherds."

It's hard for an American -- even as "embedded" an American as me -- to fully guage the joint effects of disillusionment and the Iraq prison scandal on Afghans' attitude toward the current regime and its US shepherds. Fortunately, in a way, access to visual images -- television or press with pictures -- remains very limited in Afghanistan, so the full impact of events in Iraq was probably muted. On the other hand, there has been one clear consequence: ordinary Afghans will now be much less willing to cooperate with US forces in hunting down insurgent Taliban. Believing that Abu Ghraib represents the typical lot of prisoners in US hands (particularly since there were similar stories emanating from the army detention center here in Kandahar), almost no Afghan would turn another in to face it. So the impact on the "anti-terror campaign" at least, is negative. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Trust in Education. "Kandahar, May 29, 2004" May 29, 2004.


2004: RPCV Leslie Wilson Offers First-hand Account of Life in War-torn Afghanistan

Wilson, a former Peace Corps worker in Thailand and Moldova, will provide a first-hand account of the status of women, education and development in war-torn Afghanistan. Save the Children was founded in the United States in 1932 as a non-profit child assistance organization. Today, Save the Children serves 19 states in this country as well as 47 other countries in the developing world. The organization's goal is to help children and families improve their health, education and economic situation. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Saint Mary's College. "Saint Mary's Alumna Offers First-Hand Account Of Life In War-Torn Afghanistan" May 31, 2004.


2004: The State Department, Agency for International Development, CIA, Agriculture Department, Peace Corps and other components of the federal government that might have a role to play in a nation-building operation have made few preparations to do so

America is not serious about nation-building, but it needs to get serious, because only nation-building can address the causes of state failure that threaten national security and international peace. Nation-building involves numerous activities that are not properly found anywhere in the U.S. government. Some nation-building jobs include infrastructure building and rebuilding, provision of security, development of governance institutions, and provision of basic services and welfare functions until permanent governments can be developed to take on those tasks. In part because of its historical experience with nation-building, the U.S. Army has developed some of the components necessary to perform these tasks, at least in a rudimentary fashion. No other branch of the armed services, or civilian component of the federal government, has done that much. And the Army has never been excited about nation-building operations and has never made developing an appropriate force structure, doctrine or training in such operations a priority. Without the capability to carry out such missions, the United States cannot achieve strategic victory in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan and cannot win the war on terrorism. Strategic victory is attained not only through defense of the homeland or offense against terrorists, but by helping other nations to create accountable governments and economies. That eliminates the conditions that foster discontent and anti-American terror. America needs not only an army of warriors, but an army of builders. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "A Victory Requires Army Of Builders" June 6, 2004.


2004: Imagine sending Peace Corps workers with tools instead of Marines with rifles to Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran

Indeed, no less a Muslim figure than Pervez Musharraf, the leader of Pakistan, has issued a call for an "Enlightened Moderation" by the Islamic world. In a column written for the Washington Post (printed above), Musharraf said terrorism "has created a lethal force that is all but impossible to counter. The unfortunate reality is that both the perpetrators of these crimes and most of the people who suffer from them are Muslims." Musharraf's call for an "Enlightened Moderation" by fellow Muslims is a two-pronged strategy. One calls for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and to focus on social and economic gains. The second calls for the West, and the United States in particular, to "seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world." At last! Recognition by a responsible leader of a Muslim nation of the true threat posed by international terrorism and of Muslims' duty to forego it as a solution to their problems. At last! A call from a respected Muslim leader for believers to disprove the perception that Islam "is a religion of militancy in conflict with modernization, democracy and secularism." The very use of the word "enlightened" by Musharraf is symbolically important. Remember, the Enlightenment was the label given to the period in the 18th century in western Europe when traditional social, religious and political ideas were rejected in favor of rationalism. It was a marked departure from the Dark Ages thinking of medieval times. Enlightenment ideals inspired leaders like Thomas Jefferson to found this country on such principles as the equality of human beings, freedom of speech, religion and the press, and representative government. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Brandeton Times. "Pendulum Turning? Saudi Crackdown Is A Hopeful Sign" June 6, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Jennet Robinson Alterman is Executive Director of Charleston Center for Women

Goal yet to be achieved: World peace and to have the Center for Women recognized as the premier resource in the community for women entrepreneurs and all business owners seeking both professional and personal development opportunities for themselves and their employees. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Charleston Post Courier. "Ceo Profile" June 7, 2004.


2004: Jennet Robinson Alterman is Program Moderator for National Association for Continence

Jennet Robinson Alterman is a native of Charleston and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Women. She began her career as a television news reporter and anchor for WCSC-TV. In 1977, she went to Afghanistan as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in maternal health education. Upon her return to the U.S., she worked as a Producer Director of the Health Communications Network at MUSC and then went on to serve as Lt. Governor Nancy Stevenson’s Press Secretary. She subsequently held management positions with the State Budget and Control Board until her appointment as Country Director of the Peace Corps program in Swaziland. In 2001, she accepted the position with the Center for Women. Mrs. Alterman serves on the Board of Directors of the Footlight Players and the Ashley Hall Advisory Committee. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: National Association for Continence. "Program Moderator — Jennet Robinson Alterman" June 7, 2004.


2004: Mark Schneider is the Afghanistan expert for the International Crisis Group, where he’s also senior vice-president. Mr Schneider has recently testified before the US Senate on the situation in Afghanistan

I think that there’s a great deal of doubt about NATO’s willingness and capacity to respond. We’ve been following the situation in Afghanistan closely, and that in a sense is a first priority in terms of NATO itself. The problem is that it acquired the responsibility essentially to help provide international presence with respect to security last fall, and recognised immediately in taking over this responsibility from individual countries that to provide security it needed to do it not just in Kabul but outside Kabul, which required more than the, at that time, 5,000 troops. It needed somewhere around, at least double that. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: ABC. "Mark Schneider Is The Afghanistan Expert For The International Crisis Group, Where He’s Also Senior Vice-President. Mr Schneider Has Recently Testified Before The Us Senate On The Situation In Afghanistan And He Spoke To Me A Short Time Ago From Washington." June 10, 2004.


2004: Former Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider, senior vice president at the International Crisis Group in Washington, a nonprofit organization that studies wars and works to resolve conflicts, said Karzai had painted a somewhat rosy picture of gains in his country. It's not clear that elections will take place as scheduled, Schneider said, and this year's opium harvest is expected to be the country's largest.

Mark Schneider, senior vice president at the International Crisis Group in Washington, a nonprofit organization that studies wars and works to resolve conflicts, said Karzai had painted a somewhat rosy picture of gains in his country. It's not clear that elections will take place as scheduled, Schneider said, and this year's opium harvest is expected to be the country's largest. "If you assume that the White House's purpose was to demonstrate that the administration's policies were successful, I don't think he did that, because the reality is that there are many serious problems with the policy, starting with security," Schneider said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: LA Times. "Karzai Applauds Washington, Where The Feeling Is Mutual" June 16, 2004.


2004: When Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, came to Scottsbluff in February 2002 to speak at Western Nebraska Community College, the little group began to feel a kinship with those distant people

When Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, came to Scottsbluff in February 2002 to speak at Western Nebraska Community College, the little group began to feel a kinship with those distant people. Maybe, members thought, the answer was as simple as friendship. They focused on Bamiyan as a possible Sister City because they saw similarities to Nebraska's Panhandle. Both are rural areas, high and dry country where farmers struggle to grow crops in stingy soil. When UNO brought three groups of Afghan teachers to Nebraska starting in 2002, two of the three groups visiting Scottsbluff included teachers from Bamiyan. Eventually, Bamiyan and Scottsbluff-Gering formally established ties through Sister Cities International. Mohammad Rahim Aliyar, governor of Bamiyan province, visited Scottsbluff in February. Security concerns postponed initial plans for a Scottsbluff delegation to visit Bamiyan. Boeckner, Marilyn and Paul Phillips, Jim Merrigan and Pam Cooper told about this month's journey and the Sister City efforts before they left and in e-mails from Kabul last week after their visit to Bamiyan and in phone calls to Kabul. "The people here are tough because they've been through hell, yet open, friendly and optimistic," said Merrigan, a Scottsbluff real estate agent. The group left June 7, arriving in Kabul nearly 40 hours later. Gouttierre, who already was in Afghanistan, accompanied the five western Nebraskans on their trip from Kabul to Bamiyan, along with Dr. Ward Chambers of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The 120-mile trip in two SUVs took 11 hours. Aliyar sent a truck with four armed police. The Americans talked of being greeted by most of the men of a village in one stop, and of singing a Dari song they had practiced. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "Brotherly Love From Nebraska Sister City" June 20, 2004.


2004: Thailand RPCV Leslie Wilson finds work in Afghanistan 'rewarding'

After stints with the American Refugee Committee and the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, Wilson re-joined the Peace Corps, this time as a staff member helping to oversee the organization's operations in Moldova, a state that had been part of the Soviet Union. In 1998, she joined Save The Children, first as a development official in Chicago and then as a country representative in Bangladesh. Save The Children has been involved in Afghanistan indirectly since 1985, when the organization set up in Pakistani villages where Afghans had fled the Soviet occupation. The group first set up in Afghanistan in 1989, gingerly working around the Taliban fundamentalist government. Wilson said Save The Children focuses on improving the well-being of children around the planet. In Afghanistan, a country that has been involved in one war or another for more than 25 years, there is plenty of work to do. "One of the primary things we start with is educating the residents about the dangers of land mines and other unexploded ordinance," she said. "There are still 10 million land mines in the ground across Afghanistan, so that's a real danger." Save The Children's workers also found that there were other basic concerns that needed to be addressed, particularly as the country tries to rebound from the Taliban regime. "We found that there little things that turned out to be big concerns for the children, especially in Kabul," she said. "As the level of traffic increased in the city, the children expressed their concerns about safety crossing the roads. We've been able to work with the police to get them to understand the fear associated with all the traffic, and now, every morning, the traffic police are lined up and ready to help people get where they need to go." Little victories such as that make the job satisfying. Bigger projects, such as improving the educational system, are ongoing. "We're working to get older students, especially girls, to help tutor first- or second-grade students," she said. "Education for girls wasn't a priority for the Taliban, so that's something we're trying to establish." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Beaver County Times. "Beaver Native Finds Work In Afghanistan 'Rewarding'" June 27, 2004.


2004: RPCV Thomas E. Gouttierre says of Afghan President Hamid Karzai "The eminent power right now is our military, and his central government is competing with the warlords... . Given the conditions, he's done a remarkable job."

In the 21/2 years since Karzai took power, his central government has established its authority slowly in Kabul but exercises little or no control outside the capital, where warlords maintain order in their fiefdoms, often with tacit U.S. support in the absence of a national army. Drug trafficking has become rampant, sometimes tied to the warlords. The Taliban has reasserted control in part of the country. Few people believe conditions exist for free and fair elections, which the Bush administration wants to see take place this year. "He hasn't really been in control," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, a friend of Karzai and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "The eminent power right now is our military, and his central government is competing with the warlords... . Given the conditions, he's done a remarkable job." The Afghan Northern Alliance, backed by U.S.-led forces, toppled the Taliban from power in 2001, paving the way for Karzai to become president. There have been improvements since then. The number of children in school has quadrupled to four million. The average daily working wage has more than doubled, from $2.70 to $6.25. And the Finance Ministry has begun demanding that regional leaders hand over the taxes they have collected. Americans have built a modern roadway to replace a bombed-out highway linking Kabul and Kandahar - albeit at three times the $80 million budgeted cost. But for every step forward, it seems a new problem surfaces, and, in some dispiriting instances, old problems have resprouted worse than before the war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Philadelphia Inquirer. "Karzai, Lacking Support, Struggles To Fulfill Vision" July 4, 2004.


2004: Fiji RPCV Charles M. Blomquist heading for Afghaistan in Army Civil Affairs Unit

The square shoulders, short buzz hairstyle and purposeful walk of Charles M. Blomquist do not cut the average figure of a Baltimore prosecutor. Neither does his background: a former Peace Corps volunteer, seminary student and aid worker for Catholic Relief Services. Now Blomquist, 41, who handles shooting cases in the Baltimore state's attorney's office, is going on his next mission - to Afghanistan as a major in the Army Reserves. He will supervise civil projects, such as the construction of schools and bringing electric power to impoverished towns. He will be in charge of a team of 12 civil affairs specialists, and describes his job as somewhat of a contractor. "We will be helping the villages restore a sense of civility," Blomquist said. "It's the closest thing the military has to the Peace Corps." In 1998, he began taking classes at the University of Baltimore Law School, after he and Joan had their first son, David. Andrew was born a year later. "The idea of traveling around the world wasn't conducive to family life," he said. He joined the state's attorney's office in 2001 and began working in District Court. He quickly worked his way up to the violent crime division, where his supervisors call him reliable and hard-working. "Instead of running and hiding from the military like other people, he steps up to his duty despite the fact that he has a wife and two boys," said his team captain at the prosecutors' office, William F. Cecil. "That's very telling about him." Blomquist says he feels good about the Army's purpose in Afghanistan, which is helping to bring stability to a war-torn country. "This is a country that has been at war for the majority of its existence," he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "His Next Call To Serve" July 7, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV John Barbee expands aid-relief operations into the Al Anbar province in Iraq

Barbee's first visit to Iraq left him frustrated and concerned about the fate of the country. "They had no plans in place," he said last fall, referring to the U.S. Department of Defense's seemingly nonexistent postwar strategy. "It was abundantly apparent by the time I left that if a plan was in place, we could have gotten a lot more done a lot faster." When L. Paul Bremer, the recently departed civilian administrator in charge of the occupation, declared the former Iraqi military defunct and eliminated its pay, Barbee claims things spiraled out of control. "Basically Bremer did nothing in that process to empower Iraqis, they just appointed a governing council of mostly expatriate Iraqis which had no positive leadership potential at all," he said. "All of a sudden, we became an occupation force with a relentless stranglehold on the country, and we had to start from scratch, worse than scratch. All these guys were alienated, it was just a mess." Distrust and national pride spread like wildfire across the country, Barbee said, as former Iraqi soldiers, who had thrown down their arms when Saddam's regime was overthrown, were now hell-bent on destroying the Americans. "We have eliminated Saddam but created a lot of other problems," he said, adding that now there is not only a distrust of the military, but of all Westerners, aid workers included. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Aspen Times. "Barbee: 'Empower' The People" July 16, 2004.


2004: Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Afghanistan, says government ignores killings of its workers

Medecins Sans Frontieres has became the first major aid agency to withdraw from Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, saying yesterday that the government failed to act on evidence that local warlords were behind the killings of five of its staff. The Nobel Prize-winning medical relief group, also known as Doctors Without Borders, denounced the U.S. military's use of aid to persuade Afghans to snitch on insurgents, saying it risked turning all relief workers into targets. It said it was also dismayed that Taliban rebels tried to claim responsibility for the June 2 attack on its staff. "We feel that the framework for independent humanitarian action in Afghanistan at present has simply evaporated," said Kenny Gluck, MSF's director of operations. There is a "lack of respect for the safety of aid workers." The withdrawal of Medecins Sans Frontieres, which had 80 international volunteers and 1,400 Afghan staff in the country before the June attack, is the most dramatic example yet of how poor security more than two years after the fall of the Taliban is hampering the delivery of badly needed aid. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "Aid Group Pulls Out Of Afghanistan" July 29, 2004.


2004: Afghanistan RPCV Paul Dugan takes over as the Washoe County school’s interim superintendent.

A former teacher, counselor and superintendent of elementary education in the district Dugan, 54, replaces Jim Hager, who resigned in late June to become a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Faced with a burgeoning enrollment of English as a second language students and the rigorous demands of federal No Child Left Behind Act policies, Dugan said there was a need for more resources. “The demographics of the Washoe County School District are changing,” he said during a recent interview in his office. “I think we need to look at how we allocate our resources. I don’t believe we have enough resources that are going directly for second-language learners.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Reno Gazette-Journal. "Former Teacher Takes Over As Interim Leader" August 2, 2004.


2004: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Terry Dougherty helps bring students from Afghanistan to Indiana

“The purpose of the program is to develop personal friendship between American and Afghani students and have an exchange of ideas about cultures and ways of life,” Dougherty said. “American students get to meet Afghani students as real people and hopefully as friends. Afghani students get to return with a better understanding of what life and values are like in America.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. "Afghan Teens Coming To Learn – And Educate" August 4, 2004.


2004: RPCV Larry Wonderling says Afghanistan was the worst to live in and the best for fond memories

Afghanistan was the worst to live in and the best for fond memories. I arrived there in 1971 as a thin, healthy Peace Corps consultant. Two years later, I left unhealthy and 40 pounds lighter. Magnificent scenery, wonderful people and no sanitation. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: San Francisco Chronicle. "Larry Wonderling" August 20, 2004.


2004: Congo Kinshasa RPCV Michael O'Hanlon says in Sudan, Congo and Afghanistan, the imperative for urgent action is clear

In Sudan, Congo and Afghanistan, the imperative for urgent action is clear.Here and elsewhere, the international community has tolerated horrendous crimes against humanity. To address future crises, Europe - and its armies - are part of the answer. Although most European forces are badly structured for peacekeeping and intervention missions, they have some spare capacity that could even now help stabilise Congo, Sudan and Afghanistan - good alternative missions for countries unwilling to do more in Iraq. Some of America's main allies say they are doing all they can. But in 1999 and 2000, they deployed more forces on difficult missions than they have since then - sending 60,000 troops overall to Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Sudan Tribune. "Save Lives With Force" August 26, 2004.


2004: Former Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider -now a top official of the International Crisis Group says Afghanistan is not getting enough assistance

Afghanistan has already received a $2 billion infusion of aid as part of a $9 billion multi-year program. But former U.S. diplomat Mark Schneider -now a top official of the International Crisis Group says Afghanistan is not getting enough assistance. "Relative to the need and relative to the size of the country and relative to U.S. or international participation in other post-conflict situations, it's far too little," says Mr. Schneider. "And the absence of adequate security has made the reconstruction efforts much more fragile." The crisis group believes more peacekeeping troops need to be deployed outside the capital and more aid is required to bring stability to Afghanistan, which is one of the world's poorest countries. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: VOA News. "Analysts: Aid Effectiveness Dependent On Security In Post-Conflict Societies" August 26, 2004.


2004: Sarah Chayes has traded life on a rural dairy cooperative in Afghanistan for a temporary retreat in Paris to complete her book about the aftermath of war in the bombed-out country she has called home for more than two years

Chayes has written in detail on transom.org, the website for radio producers, about her work preparing to start up Afghan Independent Radio. A year after its launch, she told Current, “The radio has been absolutely a remarkable success. According to a recent listener poll, 74 percent of the people interviewed listened to it, compared to 52 percent for BBC. I think it’s really the first local independent radio in Afghanistan ever.” Though she had the skills to start a radio station, she said, she was ironically the one who dragged her feet the most. “Partly because I knew what it took to get radio on the air. The non-radio professionals were gung-ho.” Although grants from the Carr Foundation and others provided the equipment, the two-floor building with two soundproof studios was built from scratch, as was much of the furniture, Chayes said. Chayes emphasized basic journalism in training the staff. “We would do an interview, cut it, and comment on it, working on everything from the angle of the microphone to the substance of the interview,” she said. “While there is assistance in starting up broadcast media [in developing countries], the assistance is almost entirely technical—using the computers, the digital audio, minidisc machines, but there is very little training in journalism. How do you approach a story; how are you objective in a real way?” said Chayes. “We did a lot of work on that.” The radio station is now being considered a model for others to emulate, and when she returns, Chayes will continue her mentor role with it. Though she will continue to write and speak about her work, Chayes said she doubts that she will ever return to daily journalism, “where you parachute into a place, you don’t speak the language and grab an interpreter who has his own agenda. It leaves you very open to being deceived. ... It doesn’t give you time to subject the material to the scrutiny it needs.” Understanding the country and its culture has required her to climb an enormous learning curve, she said. “One of the more pleasurable aspects of my life now is that I can take the time to come to a real understanding of something.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Current. "Without A Parachute" September 20, 2004.


2004: From 1966 to 1968 George O'Bannon was Assistant Director of the Peace Corps in Afghanistan

We had the pleasure of meeting George and Helen O'Bannon in 1964 when he worked for the American friends of the Middle east, an influential organization in which we had a strong interest. From 1966 to 1968 George was Assistant Director of the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. While he travel widely in that country, Helen added to their growing family that was to number four sons: Patrick, Colin, and Sean and Casey, twins. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rug Review. "An Irishman In Friendly Disguise" October 2, 2004.


2004: At 25, Dave Millican discovered a love of mountains and the outdoors during a 10-month stint in Afghanistan, where he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer

At 25, he discovered a love of mountains and the outdoors during a 10-month stint in Afghanistan, where he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer. "I didn't do much work there, but I gained a great humility about capability and complexity of other cultures and other countries," he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Argus Online. "Millican Retires After 18 Years" October 6, 2004.


2004: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently: "Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort"

As Thomas Gouttierre, dean of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska (one of this nation's leading experts on Afghanistan), told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently: "Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort. They gain financial support from drug interests. They threaten them with death or other bodily harm if they teach, go to school, register to vote or assist the election process, or appear to side with the government." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: WashingtonTimes. "Afghanistan's Critical Election" October 8, 2004.


2004: "This election had two major messages. First, Afghans believe they have a right to participate in their government, that it's their legacy after 30 years of violence," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, who just returned from Kabul and directs the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies. "The results will also carry a message to jihadis: Thanks for what you did against the Soviets, but we want to turn a new page and have another group of leaders for our future."

"This election had two major messages. First, Afghans believe they have a right to participate in their government, that it's their legacy after 30 years of violence," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, who just returned from Kabul and directs the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies. "The results will also carry a message to jihadis: Thanks for what you did against the Soviets, but we want to turn a new page and have another group of leaders for our future." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "Election Touted As Model For Iraq -- To A Point" October 12, 2004.


2004: More Muslim countries ask for Peace Corps Volunteers

In 2002, on his first visit to Afghanistan just weeks after military action had ended, Vasquez met Sima Samar, the deputy prime minister of the interim government who was also the minister of women's affairs. Samar, he said, shared the concept, the vision and mission of the Peace Corps. The last time the Peace Corps was there, she said, she was able to learn English with its volunteers' assistance. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: MENFN. "Muslim Countries Ask For Peace Corps" October 15, 2004.


2004: Ron Milos publishes first novel - "The Kush" It is part science fiction and is based in part on Peace Corps years (69 -70) in Afghanistan

Peace Corps Volunteer Greg Sobieski thinks something is happening in the Hindu Kush Mountain involving blue radiance, sickness, and death. No one believes him, not the Peace Corps and certainly not the Afghans who view foreigners as incompetent and stupid. While investigating, a massive earthquake occurs. Greg is assumed dead and Russia invades Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Publish America. ""The Kush" Is Part Science Fiction And Is Based In Part On Ron Milos' Peace Corps Yers (69 -70) In Afghanistan." October 20, 2004.


2004: RPCV Barry Rosen left Manhattan last month for Afghanistan, next door to Iran, where he was held hostage for 444 days in 1979. Rosen is determined to recapture something that was taken from him more than two decades ago: his overseas life

"Why would a 60-year-old man want to be in Afghanistan?" Rosen says in a telephone interview from his now- grown son's house in Washingtonville, N.Y., the day before he returned to the country where he's been working for almost a year now, helping to write textbooks for Afghan students with themes of peace and conflict resolution. "It's my way of saying to myself, 'I want to do something that I feel is real and palpable, to be out there rather than sitting behind a desk now and retiring.' This is something of that part of my life." That part of his life. Today, the former hostages see that part of their lives in different ways. A number say their time held captive is relegated to the distant past. "How much do I think about it?" asks former hostage Kathryn Koob, who continued in the foreign service at posts in cities such as Vienna and Munich after her release and is now an adjunct professor at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. "It was less than 1/60th of my life. It was 25 years ago. Life is too short and too busy to think about 444 days constantly." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "For The Americans Held Hostage In Iran For 444 Days — And Their Families — The Terrorism Of Today Holds Eerie Resonance" November 4, 2004.


2004: After serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan and hearing from a friend who served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, John Harty has started to collect shoes for Afghan women and children.

The program was initially kept low key, Harty said, but after finding out they could be shipped for free they started to push the idea. “We’ve gotten quite a ways on the collections,” Harty said. “We really started to push the program forward once we found out about the free shipping.” Stroade said the collection has gotten about 400 pairs of athletic shoes. “I’ve been amazed by the amount people have donated,” Stroade said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Kansas State Collegian. "K-State Group Begins Collection Drive For Shoes Destined For Afghan Women, Children" November 4, 2004.


2004: Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

Thomas Gouttierre knew Afghanistan before it made headlines in America's newspapers. Before terrorists crashed into Americans' consciousness on Sept. 11, 2001, and then hid in the ancient country's rugged mountains. Before people talked of the Taliban and al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden over their breakfast cereal. He knew its history and its culture, the richness of the Persian language and how people created a wealth of beautiful poetry out of it. Poems like "The Children of Adam," which he read Saturday to participants in the fourth annual Nebraska International Multicultural Exchange Conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He did it to illustrate the rich culture of a country where he lived for 10 years, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. He read it because of its message. "What an excellent way to explain how important we all are to each other," said the dean of UNO's International Studies and Programs. And what an excellent way to show this group, sitting in the expansive auditorium in UNL's student union, that the essence of Afghanistan goes way beyond the headlines. "This country that we see in the headlines today, there's much, much more to it," he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Sta. "Expert Offers Other View Of Afghanistan" November 6, 2004.


2004: Norma Emery said she met her husband in 1967 while she was in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, and he was a doctor tending to Peace Corps volunteers

Norma Emery said she met her husband in 1967 while she was in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, and he was a doctor tending to Peace Corps volunteers. After the fall of the Taliban, the couple decided to return to the country to see whether they could help. Cedric Emery, a urologist with a practice in Ventura, began helping to train medical students, while Norma Emery worked at an orphanage and trained operating room personnel. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Ventura County Star. "Human Rights Efforts Honored" December 6, 2004.


2004: One of the hostages held in the American Embassy in Teheran was RPCV Barry Rosen. Years later, after 9/11, Mr. Rosen persuaded Teachers College, where he headed the press office, to resume its work of the 1970's in Afghanistan compiling school textbooks for the Ministry of Education.

Teachers College left Afghanistan after the Communist coup of 1978, but it was still remembered in Kabul and was welcomed back this year by a Ministry of Education floundering with outmoded teaching systems and a jumble of textbooks. Children have returned to school in huge numbers since the repressive Taliban government ended three years ago, highlighting gaping deficiencies in the educational system. The contribution of Teachers College is a small but important part of a multimillion-dollar international drive to revive the education system in Afghanistan. Financed by the United Nations Children's Fund, the Teachers College group is rewriting the curriculum and all primary school textbooks, including language textbooks in four local languages, while introducing a style of teaching new to Afghan teachers and students that encourages student participation. The new books will replace the outdated texts produced piecemeal in the turmoil of Afghanistan's last quarter century of conflict by international aid groups and rotating governments, the last being the Taliban, who were dislodged by American forces three years ago. The Taliban and the Communists before them each had their own ideology to press, and even the University of Nebraska, financed by the United States government, produced textbooks for Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation that are now frowned on because of their religious themes and warlike content. "This curriculum is free of ideology," Abdul Nabi Wahidi, of the Ministry of Education, said of the new books. "We just have two ideas, peace and stability, and human rights." For the team from Teachers College, this work is painstaking but often an amusing and rewarding experience, and one that requires constant improvisation. Mr. Rosen, who worked on the religious studies textbook, questioned, for instance, whether primary school boys really needed to learn how to clean their beards during religious ablutions. He lost that argument, so central is the ritual to Islamic practice, but the item was moved to the bottom of the lesson. In fact, he found an unexpected readiness from the mullahs at the Ministry of Education to allow ethical questions to be addressed in stories and to experiment with new methods to motivate students. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pak Tribune. "Afghan Students Are Back, But Not The Old Textbooks" December 28, 2004.


2005: Afghanistan RPCV John E. Greisberger is President of Association of International Educators

John E. Greisberger became president of NAFSA: Association for International Educators on January 1, 2004. Greisberger has been the director of the Office of International Education at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio since 1986. Prior to working at Ohio State, he was a foreign student advisor and co-director of the Intensive English and Orientation Program at Iowa State University from 1976-84, and deputy director of the Harvard International Office from 1986-88. Greisberger also served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1973-1975. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Nafsa. "Nafsa: Association Of International Educators" January 5, 2005.


2005: Burkina Faso RPCV Dr. Guy Fipps takes a 12-month assignment as the senior water advisor for the Afghanistan Reconstruction Group

He will help develop water resources, treatment and delivery systems and policies in a country that has been ravished by more than two decades of war, he said. He plans to analyze irrigation needs and determine what is needed to rehabilitate existing systems Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: AgNews. "Irrigation Engineer Pumped Up About Afghanistan Assignment" January 5, 2005.


2005: John Borel provides a perspective of Afghanistan from his experiences there as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1963 to 1965

John Borel, a longtime member of ALR and leader of several ALR programs, provides a perspective of Afghanistan from his experiences there as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1963 to 1965. After his stint in the Peace Corps, he stayed on in Afghanistan to serve as director of the Afghan-American Educational Foundation, a Fulbright Program, from 1965 to 1967. Borel's experiences in Afghanistan pre-date the Communist take over in the 1970s and later the Taliban take over in the late 1990s. As a result, he brings to the course a sense of what Afghanistan was like as a sovereign state, with its own culture, traditions and desires. Borel plans to set the stage and help students place 'The Kite Runner' in perspective with help from the photographs and slides he made while in Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Saratogan. "Alr Takes An Afghan Journey With 'The Kite Runner'" January 15, 2005.


2005: Afghanistan RPCV Stephen Smith is new US consul-general in Sydney Australia

Before Sydney and Baghdad, he'd worked in Washington and throughout the Middle East. Serving in the US Navy, and in the US Peace Corps in Afghanistan, before joining the diplomatic service, Smith has undertaken various management and personnel positions in Jordan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Bahrain, Iran and Egypt. One earlier task provided him with at least some experience for the role he undertook in Baghdad - essentially to turn the office of a military occupier into a US ambassadorial structure. In the early 1990s he headed US efforts to set up new embassies in the dozen or so countries created by the collapse of the former Soviet Union. "In many places the concept of renting a building was an alien concept," he said. "Setting up security, co-ordinating from Washington and finding places for embassy staff to live as there were no housing markets in places like Belarus or Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan ... it was quite something." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Sydney Morning Herald . "Listening Post Of A Diplomat Down Under" January 17, 2005.


2005: Aghanistan and Ecuador RPCV Richard Hobbs appointed director of Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations.

Before joining the county in 1996, Hobbs spent six years with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, taught English as a second language at colleges in the region and served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and Ecuador. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: San Jose Mercury News. "Immigrant Services Chief To Lead Human Relations Office" January 26, 2005.


2005: In the early '70s, Jim Rumford was in Kabul as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching co-ed classes, where, he recalls, his female students were filled with ambition that no one questioned

Like Ahmadi, Jim Rumford -- also a Manoa resident -- cherishes the time he spent in an Afghanistan of a different era. In the early '70s, he was in Kabul as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching co-ed classes, where, he recalls, his female students were filled with ambition that no one questioned. "So many were multilingual. They could recite poetry in Persian or French. So now I have to wonder what happened to them with all this ..." his voice hesitates, "... all this craziness," he finishes, shaking his head. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "Isle Advocates Aid Afghan Women" February 11, 2005.


2005: Centenial Dinner will feature Thomas E. Gouttierre, Dean of International Studies and Programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO

Gouttierre speaks, reads, and writes Afghan Persian (Dari), Iranian Persian (Farsi), and Tajiki Persian (Tajiki)fluently; he has also studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. His publications include numerous articles about Afghanistan society, culture, and politics; a co-authored, two-volume language textbook (Dari for Foreigners); original Dari poetry; translations of Persian poetry; and a variety of magazine and newspaper articles concerned with other international topics. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Southwest Nebraska News. "Rotary Dinner To Feature Afghanistan Scholar" February 21, 2005.


2005: Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

During his presentation, Gottierre discussed the history of the region, Afghanistan’s ethnic diversity and post 9/11 democratization. Gottierre also discussed his relationship with prominent Afghan figures Ahmad Shah Massoud and Hamid Karzai. Gouttierre emphasized his belief that the fates of the Afghan and American people are interconnected and that U.S. involvement in the region was accepted by the majority of Afghanistan’s citizens. “There is no ambiguity in the minds of the Afghans about weather or not they want the United States in Afghanistan” Gouttierre asserted, adding that if there were any complaints at all, it is “that we dumped them once and they are concerned that we might dump them again.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Southwest Nebraska News. "Gouttierre: People Of Afghanistan Want U.s. Involvement" February 27, 2005.


2005: A one-page information sheet prepared by Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Afghanistan Studies center, said that the center is proud of its record in assisting Afghans to rebuild their education sector

The UNO center was awarded three major contracts by the United States Agency for International Development covering 1974-1978, 1986-1994 and 2002-2004, Hawks said in the letter. More than 50 faculty and staff members at UNO and UNL worked on the projects, under which more than 30 million textbooks were produced for Afghanistan children and adults, Hawks said. At Friday's meeting, officials distributed a one-page information sheet that was prepared by Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Afghanistan Studies center, according to NU administration official Dara Troutman. The unsigned statement said that the center is proud of its record in assisting Afghans to rebuild their education sector. The statement does not address Olson's claims, but instead lists what are described as highlights of the center's work, including the development of maps, writing chapters for encyclopedias on Afghanistan and making thousands of appearances to talk about the country. Gouttierre was out of the office Friday and did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Olson's appearance before the board is the latest in a series of communications Nebraskans for Peace has had with the university related to the Afghan Studies program dating back to January. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Casper Star Tribune. "Peace Group: Uno Textbooks Distributed In Afghanistan Contributed To Terrorism" April 15, 2005.


2005: The majority of the controversial textbooks were written to help Afghan refugees in Pakistan educate their children while the Soviet Union occupied their country, Thomas Gouttierre said

Turn to the back cover of one of several million of these books, published in the late 1980s, and see a familiar logo – that of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Paul Olson, a Nebraskans for Peace member and University of Nebraska-Lincoln English professor, uses the words “propaganda,” “covert” “operations,” “terrorism” and “violence-and-jihad-promoting” when describing these textbooks. At the University of Nebraska Board of Regents’ meeting on Friday, Olson said these textbooks were used to educate grade-school children and UNO’s involvement indicates a lack of ethics. “We provided the violence-laden propaganda to the Taliban-era Afghan children,” Olson said. “The 9/11 terrorists emerged from this context.” Nebraskans for Peace, a statewide peace group, has asked the board to conduct an investigation of these textbooks, develop a university-wide ethics policy and strengthen existing policies on the matter. Regent Howard Hawks of Omaha, chairman of the board, said the center followed university policy at the time, and there is no need to change those policies now. Thomas Gouttierre has been the director of the UNO Center for Afghan Studies since 1974 and said historical context has to be taken into consideration when looking at these textbooks. “While their intentions may be good,” he said in a phone interview, “their interpretation of history is out of context.” Since 1974, the center has received three contracts from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help develop education in Afghanistan. The most controversial books were produced at UNO between 1986 and 1989, using USAID’s funds and rules – which said all content of the textbooks was left up to the Afghans. “We were told explicitly that we were not to have any input into the content,” he said, adding that the center has never denied that several of these books were militantly anti-Soviet. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Daily Nebraskan. "Controversial Textbook Topics Oked By Uno" April 20, 2005.


2005: Uzbekistan RPCV Jake Dinneen on "Golf in Afghanistan"

Thank you, Steve Kelley, for your piece on golf in Afghanistan (Seattle Times, April 28). I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, in 1999-2000 and I often went near the Afghan border. My heart is still strongly connected to that region, and I sit and wonder when the international community will build a strong effort in places like the -stans. The sad reality of Afghanistan is that it really has never really experienced true unity as a country, and with the insanely powerful warlords it will likely never be peacefully unified. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Times. "Golf In Afghanistan" May 1, 2005.


2005: Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, is coming to Nebraska in late May. The Afghan president, a longtime U.S. ally and a one-time student of Thomas Gouttierre, the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies, will receive an honorary degree from UNO, Gouttierre said

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, is coming to Nebraska in late May. The Afghan president, a longtime U.S. ally and a one-time student of Thomas Gouttierre, the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies, will receive an honorary degree from UNO, Gouttierre said Tuesday. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Star. "Afghanistan President To Visit Nebraska" May 4, 2005.


2005: Afghanistan RPCV Richard Hobss has lived a lifetime of tireless activism

``I've experienced or witnessed a lot of pain and suffering, says Hobbs, new director of the Santa Clara County Office of Human Relations. ``Some in my personal life. Some in Santa Clara County, and a lot in Third World countries. When you see people dying of hunger, malnutrition, lack of health care, it's a huge motivation to fight that pain and suffering. But three short months in 1974 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan exposed him to the worst suffering. "I saw the deepest poverty I ever saw in my life, he said. ``One of every two babies died before the age of 5. There was no concept of basic sanitation. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Mercury News. "A Lifetime Of Tireless Activism" May 8, 2005.


2005: Anti-U.S. protests spread in Islamic world reports RPCV James Rupert

The uproar was ignited by a recent report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. troops had thrown a copy of the Koran into a toilet as part of their interrogation of Muslim prisoners. Afghan prisoners released from Guantanamo and other U.S. military prisons also say soldiers abused the Koran to horrify or humiliate prisoners. In four provincial Afghan towns, violence broke out as crowds of men filled streets after the midday prayer. At least four police were reported killed in Ghazni province and another person in the city of Gardez, both southwest of Kabul, and a protester was reported shot to death in Qala-I-Nau, in the northwest as the violence spread from southern to northern Afghanistan for the first time. Afghan officials suggested opponents of the country's painstaking democratic rebirth were stirring up this week's trouble, while the U.S. government appealed for calm, The Associated Press reported. Rice said that if the allegations "are proven true, we will take appropriate action. Respect for the religious freedom for all individuals is one of the founding principles of the United States." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Chicago Tribune. "Anti-U.s. Protests Spread In Islamic World" May 14, 2005.


2005: Aid worker kidnapped in Kabul reports RPCV James Rupert

Police said four unidentified men with AK-47 assault rifles forced the woman's car to halt in a street of Shahr-i-Nau, a neighborhood where aid agency offices are concentrated. They forced the woman - an employee of CARE International identified as Clementina Cantoni, 32 - into a car. She had been working in Kabul for about three years on a program helping widows, CARE said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Aid Worker Kidnapped In Kabul" May 17, 2005.


2005: In 1968, Jonathan Greenburg joined the Peace Corps, and was stationed in Darweshan, Afghanistan. He taught English to Afghan children

In 1968, Greenburg joined the Peace Corps, and was stationed in Darweshan, Afghanistan. He taught English to Afghan children. No plumbing. No electricity. The school stood in the desert, three hours from the nearest city, and from the closest American community, where the business people “had no contact with the people other than giving orders.” “I didn’t think of what I was doing there in the political sense,” Greenburg said. “I was not looking at the big picture. I was just imbued with the Kennedy spirit – I was young and idealistic and trying to do something positive. Who was I kidding? I was an agent for American imperialism.” But the humility of the people, their generosity and “Middle Eastern hospitality” prevailed. They played basketball together, students and teacher - the students playing barefoot. They farmed and learned. “Most of the kids went on to the university in Kabul to study agronomy,” said Greenburg. “I remember this one boy, he couldn’t distinguish between ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ after one year of studying English.” But goodbye came nonetheless, and as hard as it was to go to Afghanistan in the first place, it was harder to leave. The two-year assignment served as the basis for Greenburg’s continuing passion for the Middle East and for world cultures. From the 1960s to 2001, “this stuff was dormant in me,” he said of his background in Afghanistan. “It suddenly came to the forefront after 9/11,” he said. As part of the curriculum for his Middle Eastern Studies course, he and the students each year went to an Islamic Mosque in Paterson not only to observe – but also to take part in the rituals of that religion. “You’re going to come out of the Middle Eastern Studies class knowing 99 percent more than the rest of the community knows about Islam,” the teacher told his students. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Chatham Courier. "History Teacher Greenburg Urges His Students To Engage" May 19, 2005.


2005: Thomas Gouttierre says believes there is still reason to be positive about the security situation in Afghanistan, mostly because three and a half years after the Taliban regime was brought down, things are finally getting back to normal.

Gouttierre, who heads the Centre for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska, believes there is still reason to be positive about the security situation, mostly because three and a half years after the Taliban regime was brought down, things are finally getting back to normal. "People are busy about their work and business, they want to provide for their families and get things on track again and that's all most people are concerned about in Afghanistan, and that, in some ways, is the most important asset...just the restoration of normality has introduced discipline to the society," he told Adnkronos International (AKI). Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Aki. "Afghanistan: Kidnap Damaging To The Country's Confidence, Says Expert" May 19, 2005.


2005: "The fact is, in Afghanistan the name 'Nebraska' is very well known," said Thomas Gouttierre, who is of Belgian ancestry but was introduced to Afghanistan after serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer

For 33 years, the UNO Center for Afghanistan Studies has been the most comprehensive U.S. resource center on that country, devoted mostly to exchanges of students and educators and improving educational opportunities in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai and 24 Afghan officials will arrive today and leave Wednesday night after Karzai is awarded an honorary UNO degree. "This makes a statement about how much President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan respect our state because of their relationship with the UNO Afghanistan Study Center," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Karzai's visit is especially timely for the UNO center, which is facing new challenges. The center has been criticized by a UNO professor for not being more academically oriented or offering courses on Afghanistan. A peace group also repeatedly has criticized the program for publishing Afghan textbooks that included military themes. In addition, as Afghanistan has risen in worldwide prominence, other institutions have emerged to compete with UNO for federal grants. But in the early 1970s, Afghanistan seemed to appeal only to UNO scholars trying to find a niche for international studies. They were responding to a request by then-Chancellor Ronald Roskens to bring an international flavor to the campus on Dodge Street. But why Afghanistan, over other nations around the globe? Because Christian L. Jung, who was on the UNO geography/geology faculty, was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan. Because the Fulbright Foundation in 1972 had a director in Afghanistan -- Thomas Gouttierre -- who knew Jung's father and was encouraged to help UNO with an educational exchange. Because the younger Jung died in 1974 and Gouttierre was recruited to leave Kabul and replace Jung as head of the new center. That same year, UNO created a Department of International Studies, and Gouttierre became dean. Since then, the department has been awarded $80 million in federal grants, more than $60 million of that to the Afghan studies center. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Afghans Feel A Kinship With Omahaa Uno Program Began Focusing On Afghanistan In 1972, When The Country Was "Not On The Radar."Uno And Afghanistan Timeline" May 24, 2005.


2005: Mark Schneider says joint declaration of the United States-Afghanistan strategic partnership is "pretty thin gruel"

Bush and Karzai signed and released a joint declaration of the United States-Afghanistan strategic partnership. The partnership's goal, it said, would be to "strengthen U.S.-Afghan ties and help ensure Afghanistan's long-term security, democracy and prosperity." But some analysts said the document did not include specific commitments that Karzai may have hoped to get. It gave no hint of how long the U.S. would be willing to stay in the country. "This is a pretty generic document," said Mark Schneider, a former U.S. development official who is senior vice president of the International Crisis Group in Washington, a nonprofit organization that deals with conflict resolution. "It's pretty thin gruel." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: LA Times. "Bush Refuses Karzai On Troops, Captives" May 24, 2005.


2005: Because of Dr. Thomas Gouttierre, who founded the Center for Afghan Studies at UNO, Nebraska has ties with Afghanistan that stretch back to a more peaceful and prosperous era in the early 1970s

Afghanistan has a chance to return to agricultural productivity. Thanks to U.S. and international intervention that drove the Taliban from power and created the conditions for a successful election approved by international observers, Afghanistan is on the road to stability. But, as the visit this week to Nebraska by Afghan President Hamid Karzai made clear, the country still has a long distance to travel to sufficiency and security. Struggling to survive, Afghan farmers have returned to raising poppies, which can be sold for the illegal production of opium. They need to find better options. The United States can help by sharing resources and the wealth of agricultural knowledge found in places such as Nebraska. Because of Dr. Thomas Gouttierre, who founded the Center for Afghan Studies at UNO, Nebraska has ties with Afghanistan that stretch back to a more peaceful and prosperous era in the early 1970s. Then the former Soviet Union invaded. The U.S. backed rebels, and finally the Soviets withdrew. But in an error that became painfully obvious in retrospect, the U.S. government lost interest in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban it became a training ground for terrorists who launched the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. America should learn from that mistake. The risk is that the United States will be distracted by other pressing problems and once again turn its back on Afghanistan now that the immediate threat has been eliminated. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Star. "Nebraska Can Help Afghans" May 27, 2005.


2005: The Coyne Column: Love and War in Afghanistan

Klaits knows Afghanistan and the problems of development there. Back in May of 2003 he spoke at an event sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, and said that nongovernmental relief organizations such as Child Fund Afghanistan (where he was program manager) oppose the provisional reconstruction teams, which were established in several Afghan regions earlier this year, because they put military forces in charge of relief work. "Many of the NGOs are going bankrupt but the military has lots of funds," he said. "We believe the NGOs are capable of doing this work." More practically, Klaits said that the military teams, which are made up of Army special operations soldiers, regular ground troops and Army personnel trained in reconstruction, have failed to tap local resources and have botched construction projects. The teams have hired Afghan construction companies to rebuild schools and hospitals, he said, but don’t have engineers on staff capable of overseeing the work. "The schools being built are already falling down." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PCOL Exclusive. "John P. Coyne" May 28, 2005.


2005: Husband and Wife team, Alex Klaits and Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits, will read from and share stories about their new release Love and War in Afghanistan

Husband and Wife team, Alex Klaits and Gulchin Gulmamadova-Klaits, will read from and share stories about their new release Love and War in Afghanistan, a unique and unparralleled collection of oral narratives of unspeakable tragedy and unconquerable love from twelve ordinary Afghans. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Radicalendar: Baltimore Area. "Love And War In Afghanistan" June 1, 2005.


2005: Morocco RPCV James Rupert writes: A bombing in a Kandahar mosque killed at least 20 people Wednesday, including a top Afghan police official, in the latest and deadliest of a wave of attacks that has underscored Afghanistan's volatility despite U.S. efforts to stabilize the country.

A presumed Muslim militant disguised in a police uniform joined the crowd of mourners and, after the prayers, walked up to Gen. Akram Khakreezwal, police chief of the capital, Kabul. "That was when he detonated his bomb," said Muhammad Afzal, 35, a witness. "It was a terribly big explosion" that also killed the chief's bodyguards, Afzal told the Agence France-Press news service. The blast shattered the courtyard. "I was knocked unconscious," a survivor, Nanai Agha, told The Associated Press. "When I woke up ... people were running around. Some were lying on the ground, crying. Dead bodies were everywhere." Kandahar officials said the bomber was an Arab, but their evidence and any details about him remained uncertain. With the killing of Fayaz, the bombing appeared to represent a new escalation in Afghanistan's wave of violence this spring, both in its targeting of a mosque and in the number of casualties. Government and hospital officials told reporters anywhere from 40 to 70 people were injured Wednesday. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "20 Dead In Suicide Bomb At Mosque" June 1, 2005.


2005: Hamid Karzai's visit was prompted by a long-standing relationship with Thomas Gouttierre and as part of a weeklong tour of the United States, which also included stops in Boston and Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, May 25, inside of an unassuming aircraft hangar and under the watchful eyes of several dozen Secret Service agents, Hamid Karzai, the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan, began his daylong tour of the Omaha area. He spoke to about 300 airmen at Offutt Air Force Base at 9:15 a.m. before moving on to the Harry Knobbe Farm and Feedyards in West Point and then to UNO to receive an honorary Doctorate of Letters. At UNO, Karzai viewed the Arthur and Daisy Paul Afghanistan Collection and the Luke Powell Photographic Collection in the University Library and then received his degree from the university in a ceremony at the Strauss Performing Arts Center. Several members of UNO faculty and administration including UNO Faculty Senate President Hollis Glaser, Thomas Gouttierre, and Chancellor Nancy Belck attended the Conferral of Degrees ceremony. UNO Student President/Regent Elizabeth Kraemer, University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken, Mayor Mike Fahey and Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy were also in attendance. During her opening statements, Belck said, "This is, indeed, an extraordinary day for the state of Nebraska, the city of Omaha and the University of Nebraska. It is a day we have long awaited." Karzai's visit was prompted by a long-standing relationship with Gouttierre and as part of a weeklong tour of the United States, which also included stops in Boston and Washington D.C. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Gateway. "Uno, Omaha Welcome Afghan President Hamid Karzai" June 7, 2005.


2005: Morocco RPCV James Rupert writes: An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 children survive in Kabul these days by hustling on streets made dangerous by aggressive drivers, thieves and even kidnappers. But in the downtown school called Aschiana ("nest" in Persian), more than 800 of them find a miracle in every room.

On a good afternoon, Rukiya, 11, can make 30 Afghanis (60 cents) by selling bags. Then she might spend a couple of coins to ride a bus to her home 3 miles away. Often, she walks. Rukiya and three siblings live with her uncle's family of eight in a pair of ragged tents pitched in the bombed-out shell of the former Soviet Cultural Center. The family says Rukiya's parents are dead. Her uncle, Hakim Khan, said he moved the family to Kabul three years ago from Pakistan, where they took refuge during Afghanistan's years of war. In Pakistan, "we were as poor as here ... and the weather was very hot," he said. Khan sells vegetables on the street near the family's camp. Rukiya and her older brother, who hauls water to sell by the cup in a bazaar, are the family's other income earners. She and one of Khan's daughters are the only two of the 10 children to attend school. Aschiana once ran a temporary school in a tent for refugees at the cultural center but moved it to a bigger camp at the edge of town. Four men at the center approached a foreign visitor last month to plead that Aschiana return. They pointed to dozens of kids chasing each other around the debris-littered grounds. "Our children have nothing," said one man. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "A Bitter Lesson In Capitalism" June 19, 2005.


2005: Haiti RPCV Alonzo Fulgham as its new Mission Director in Afghanistan

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the swearing in of Alonzo Fulgham as its new Mission Director in Afghanistan. Administrator Andrew S. Natsios presided at the event and administered the oath to Mr. Fulgham. When the USAID office re-opened in January 2002, the first objective was to prevent a major humanitarian crisis. The USAID/Afghanistan Mission is now building on achievements such as the building of schools and clinics, the immunization of children, the development of infrastructure and the introduction of a new, stable currency. The six building blocks of the current program are infrastructure; agriculture and rural development; education; economic governance; health care; and reconstituting the basic organs of governance. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: USAID. "New Usaid Mission Director For Afghanistan Sworn In" June 21, 2005.


2005: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says Afghan militants may be desperate to interfere with the upcoming elections because they know they could not hope to win any seats in the national assembly

Much of the fighting has been along Afghanistan's rugged border with Pakistan, including the battle that downed the helicopter Tuesday. The area is home to anti-American terrorists and drug traffickers who want the Afghan government to fail, said Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Drug traffickers and insurgents have joined forces, Gouttierre said, "because they recognize that a stabilized Afghanistan is not in their interest." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: USA Today. "U.s. Sees Fighting Rekindled In Afghanistan" June 29, 2005.


2005: Haiti RPCV Alonzo Fulgham named mission director in Afghanistan for the US Agency for International Development

The agency reopened its office in Afghanistan in January 2002 after the US military helped oust the Taliban following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. USAID has a $623 million budget this fiscal year for Afghanistan. Despite the violence in the war-torn country, Fulgham said he isn't afraid, but rather is honored to get the aid agency's second-biggest job, behind only Iraq. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Globe. "Foreign Service Worker Inspired By Childhood In Boston" July 3, 2005.


2005: Iran RPCV Michael Metrinko writes about Diplomatic Life in Afghanistan

"The funny thing is, there are lots of diplomats like me in places like this in Afghanistan. Americans and Europeans and many others who have left their cuff links and silk ties and dark suits back home. We tend to show up for meetings with back packs and wearing jeans. And funnier still, we think we have the best of worlds here. I know I wouldn’t trade my tent for the biggest Ambassadorial residence in London, Paris or Rome. If any of the recent critics of the State Dept and other countries’ foreign services care to make the 3 day overland trip here (via a very bad dirt road from Herat) I would be happy to introduce them to this version of the diplomatic life." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US Center on Public Diplomacy. "Foreign Service Life - On The Front Lines In Herat Afghanistan" August 6, 2005.


2005: A former Peace Corps volunteer, Terry Dougherty left Afghanistan in 1975 never dreaming it would be nearly 30 years before he could go back, before he could bring Afghans to the United States and show them his culture

Now, he has helped bring four Afghan students – two boys and two girls – to Fort Wayne for a year. For the girls especially, this is the educational experience of a lifetime. Under the Taliban, the former government that the United States helped to overthrow, girls were kept from attending school. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. "Afghan Youths Arrive To Spend Year In City" August 8, 2005.


2005: Tom Brokaw proposes a Peace Corps on Steroids

The Special Forces concept has worked well for the military. Why couldn't it work as well for the Foreign Service? The State Department could recruit young men and women who want an adventurous life and train them as the Diplomatic Special Forces, a kind of Peace Corps on steroids. Put them through crash courses in local dialects and skills relevant to the areas where they will be assigned. Give them extra pay and set the bar high so they have the same elite status as the Pentagon's Special Forces. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "A Peace Corps On Steroids?" August 20, 2005.


2005: Afghanistan RPCV John A. Behnke named county judge in Mendocino

Behnke graduated from Lawrence University in Wisconsin in 1971. For the next two years, he volunteered for the Peace Corps in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Ukiah Daily Journal. "Behnke Named County Judge" September 19, 2005.


2005: Baktash Ahadi fled Afghanistan with parents - now heading for Mozambique as Peace Corps Volunteer

Basear and Marzia Ahadi of Carlisle risked their lives to escape Soviet-backed Afghanistan with their two toddler sons in 1984. Now their oldest son, Baktash, is going back overseas as a member of America's Peace Corps. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Carlisle Sentinel. "Peace Corps Tour His ‘Calling'" September 28, 2005.


2005: Afghanistan RPCV Mary Pat Robinson dies

She was a retired English teacher, having taught in Columbia, South America, and for the Peace Corps in Kabul, Afganistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Daily Standard. "Mary Pat Robinson" September 30, 2005.


2005: “A Progress Report on Afghanistan” will be given by Lt. Col. Stephen D. Tableman (RPCV Philippines)

Tableman will discuss the recent election, relations with tribal warlords, and the importance of the work of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in winning the war against terrorism. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Southern Pines Pilot. "Tableman Speaks At League Luncheon" October 22, 2005.


2005: Niger RPCV Clark Fleege helps rebuild Afghanistan's forests

Fleege, who directs the Lucky Peak Nursery for the Boise National Forest, will make his second trip to Afghanistan to continue working on a United States Department of Agriculture project to plant native tree species for reforestation, soil improvement and beautification. The country has lost a lot of its forests to a drought that has plagued the area for the past several years. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Idaho Statesman. "Nursery Manager Helps Rebuild Afghanistan's Forests" October 28, 2005.


2005: James Rupert writes After 3 years, Afghan writers freed from Gitmo

Badr Zaman Badr and his brother Abdurrahim Muslim Dost relish writing a good joke that jabs a corrupt politician or distills the sufferings of fellow Afghans. Badr admires the political satires in The Canterbury Tales" and Gulliver's Travels," and Dost wrote some wicked lampoons in the 1990s, accusing Afghan mullahs of growing rich while preaching and organizing jihad. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Globe. "Ironic Twist Landed Afghan Satirists In Jail" November 6, 2005.


2005: Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

"Osama Bin Laden trained the Arabs living in Afghanistan in terrorism," Gouttierre said, "they first targeted the Saudi monarchy and then the U.S. because they were somehow connected." According to Gouttierre, Bin Laden believes that the U.S. is on a crusade to undermine Islam. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Current . "Speaker Explains Roots Of Terrorism In Afghanistan" November 14, 2005.


2005: Kazakhstan RPCV Sara Buchanan makes women's voices heard in Afghanistan

"In Afghanistan, it's really backwards as far as women's rights," she said. "Only 15 percent of women read; only 35 percent of students are women. Women aren't mobile. I knew about some of it [before joining CARE], but when you see it, it really hits home. CARE increased the number of women employees to work with Afghan women in areas where men can't. I make sure women are given opportunities for promotion, make sure our policies are fair, and make sure women have the chance to voice their opinion." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Kingsport Times News. "Kingsport Native Makes Women's Voices Heard In Afghanistan" December 18, 2005.


2006: Military aims to bolster language skills

The Pentagon plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years to bolster foreign language skills within the military, a move to correct what is considered a critical handicap as soldiers pursue missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to documents and defense officials. It also provides more foreign language-proficiency pay for service members who become fluent in a language and creates a 1,000-member Civilian Linguist Reserve Corps, language experts who would be on call for military missions, the documents show. "What if we had a platoon of soldiers and Marines that had been, let's just say, in Iraq for a decade or more? Think how much more culturally attuned we might have been to conditions there?" Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "Military Aims To Bolster Language Skills" January 2, 2006.


2006: Iran RPCV Paul Barker named Lewis & Clark Distinguished Alumnus

During Barker's first Afghanistan tour, which ran from 1995 to 1999, the Taliban seized control of most of the country and quickly imposed severe restrictions. Barker, together with other CARE staff, successfully negotiated an agreement with the Taliban leadership in Kandahar that ensured the Taliban's acceptance of CARE's humanitarian and development programs. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newport News-Times. "Newport High Alum Named Lewis & Clark Distinguished Alumnus" January 6, 2006.


2006: Thomas Gouttierre says Most Indian students return to India

The idea that most students from India stay in the United States to live and work is no longer true, says Thomas Gouttierre, dean of international studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: TMCnet. "Fewer Students From India Make U.s. Home" January 25, 2006.


2006: Shannon Olive joined the Peace Corps in 1998 and spent more than two years in west Africa's Ivory Coast

"This is what you are supposed to do with your life," he says. "Give to others. Your life is potentially threatened anywhere, but if I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets and I would do it all over again. I'm helping out mankind and wouldn't have it any other way." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Montgomery Advertiser. "Shannon Oliver Aims To Make A Difference" February 20, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes writes: The night fairies

"Afghans, legendary for their tenacity in battle, have had their courage shattered by the gruesome bloodletting of recent decades. The odds were stacked so heavily against them, the weapons so mismatched, the perpetrators--Afghan and foreign alike--so insensitive to the strictures of honorable conflict, that courage became irrelevant. Afghans are now internally injured. They constitute an entire society suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. And so, it does not take much to intimidate them. A scattering of menacing handbills, some judiciously executed murders--outrageous enough in the choice of victims or venues, such as the night watchman who was hanged on the grounds of the middle school he protected just east of Kandahar--suffice to scare ordinary Afghans. They no longer have the psychological resources to take risks. And so, the arduous task of rebuilding one of the most isolated, war-shattered, and strategic countries in the world is now complicated not just by the danger to those delivering the aid, but also because the beneficiaries are growing afraid to be seen receiving the help. " Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "Afghanistan: The Night Fairies" March 1, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Battling a resurgent Taliban in Pakistan

"The unprecedented scale of the battle, around North Waziristan's main town, Miramshah, reflects a continued, incremental growth of a new Taliban movement in Pakistan, three years after the government deployed much of its army to defeat it." Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Battling A Resurgent Taliban" March 9, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Scores Killed in Afghan Battles

"The last two days underscore what appears to be a major Taliban offensive to strengthen its influence in the south as U.S. forces there hand off combat roles to arriving NATO units." Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Los Angeles Times. "Scores Killed In Afghan Battles" March 19, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: U.S. crash sparks fatal Afghan riots

"The riot underscored Afghans' growing frustrations with a 4 1/2-year-old foreign occupation that has brought disappointingly little physical and economic security and that too often seems to them like an assault on their cultural traditions." Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "U.s. Crash Sparks Fatal Afghan Riots" March 30, 2006.


2006: Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes finds her calling in Afghan hot spot

Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Globe. "American Activist Finds Her Calling In Afghan Hot Spot" May 9, 2006.


2006: Afghanistan and Tunisia RPCV Stephen Conroy dies

From 1972-1976, he was in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and then Tunisia. His stories of life there, with its labyrinth of alleyways and mysteries, kept listeners spellbound. After leaving the Peace Corps, Stephen chose to remain in Tunisia at the University of Tunis until 1981. It seems appropriate then, to use the words of Rumi, an Afghani poet, to bid Stephen farewell: ``That's how you came here, like a star without a name. Move across the night sky now, with those anonymous lights. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Providence Journal Bulletin. "Conroy, Stephen E., 55, Of Providence's East Side And Johnson's Pond, Coventry, Passed Away Tuesday, June 6, 2006, At His Home." June 8, 2006.


2006: John Sumser shares Peace Corps experience from Afghanistan

Sumser grew to love Afghanistan's barren land and its people. But his service there came to an abrupt end when the country's communists staged a coup and took over. He was accused of being a spy and was taken to a room where he was punched and threatened repeatedly. At one point, one man held a pistol to Sumser's head and said he would be killed immediately if he didn't admit to being a spy. His captors never believed that he was simply an English teacher working for the Peace Corps. "In concrete terms, I was without consequence," Sumser wrote. "No one really knew how many people had been killed in the last week, so one more wouldn't matter very much." In the end, they let him go, and as he walked out of the building, he was met by an official from the U.S. Embassy, which had helped obtain his release. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Modesto Bee. "Looking Back On Afghanistan: Stan State Professor Shares Peace Corps Experience" June 18, 2006.


2006: Jerry Spurgat taught English in Afghanistan 38 years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer. He left figuring he got more out of it than his students.

He found out last year he was wrong. A former student, now a doctor in Frankfurt, Germany, looked him up. Dr. Amamullah Alsee wanted to reconnect with the man he credits with not only teaching him English, which he says enabled him to learn German and become successful, but also with building the foundation for English education in the Afghan city of Herat. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier,. "Former Student Looks Up Peace Corps Volunteer Who Taught Him English 38 Years Ago" June 21, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Afghanistan orders journalists to report more good news

"The war against the Taliban has gone badly these last months, but Afghanistan's national intelligence agency has devised a secret plan to reverse the tide of bad news. In a coordinated action this week, the intelligence men drove up to TV stations and newspapers in SUVs and dropped off an unsigned letter ordering journalists to report more favorable news about the government. In particular, the letter said, they should avoid "materials which deteriorate people's morale and cause disappointment to them."" Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Times. "Afghanistan Orders Journalists To Report More Good News" June 21, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Despite renewing commitment to help defeat the Taliban, many wonder whether U.S. is up to the task

In Afghanistan, to judge by public debate and by scores of interviews in the past month, Karzai has lost a significant amount of the broad popular support that elected him in October 2004. "The security is not better, the prices are higher and the money [to rebuild the country] is only going to rich men," said Shah Wali, a farmer in the southeastern city of Gardez. Rice underlined that Karzai is "admired and respected in the international community." And, she declared, "democratic institutions and the democratic future [are] ... getting stronger each day." But most Afghans interviewed, plus many independent analysts, say anti-democratic forces - such as the Taliban, corruption and heroin-trafficking mobs that include government officials - also have grown dangerously. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Rice Rallies, Afghans Still Worry" June 29, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Taliban grabs hold in Pakistan

U.S. military officers in Afghanistan say it will be impossible to defeat the Taliban there as long as Waziristan offers them what is their biggest sanctuary in the Afghan-Pakistani theater. Waziristan's Taliban include fighters from the former Afghan Taliban regime, some Arabs, Chechens and other foreigners -- and thousands of new Pakistani recruits, local residents and journalists say. Hassu Khel's ordeal suggests a key reason why repeated Pakistani army offensives in Waziristan have failed to defeat the Taliban. The army-led government is relying too heavily on military force and has no effective political strategy to win over Waziristan's estimated 1 million people, say residents and analysts such as Behroz Khan, a Pakistani journalist who monitors the region. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: India Monitor . "Taliban Grabs Hold In Pakistan" July 13, 2006.


2006: Thomas Gouttierre faces undisclosed action following slapping accusation

After an investigation, the university administration stated that, since there were grounds for disciplinary action, Gouttierre would face undisclosed actions. Being removed from office was not one of them. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Gateway. "Dean Faces Undisclosed Action Following Slapping Accusation" August 22, 2006.


2006: James Rupert writes: Pakistan's ruling army is forging a peace deal with Islamic militant guerrillas in the country's border region that will likely free the militants to increase attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan

"Pakistani newspapers say the army is close to a deal with locally based Taliban in the rugged border area of North Waziristan - the latest sign that a 2 1/2-year campaign to oust the militants from Waziristan has failed. The militants, mostly local, ethnic Pashtun tribesmen allied with an unknown number of Arab, Uzbek and other foreign fighters, effectively control North Waziristan, say residents of the region." Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Deal May Lead To More Attacks" August 27, 2006.


2006: Two US Soldiers killed in massive suicide car bomb blast

The blast, which took place near the US Embassy in the Afghan capital, tore a military vehicle into two burning chunks and scattered debris and body parts over a 50-meter (50-yard) radius. It rattled windows throughout the downtown area and sent a plume of brown smoke spiraling into the sky. Mohammed Aslam, a Kabul police official at the scene, said he had seen seven bodies and nine wounded people. He said he could not determine if they included foreigners. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw the bodies of two coalition soldiers lying meters (yards) from the vehicle. The attack, caused by a suicide car bomb, targeted an American military convoy, said Sgt. Chris Miller, a US military spokesman. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Khajee Times. "Suicide Car Bomb Near Us Embassy In Kabul Kills 7" September 8, 2006.


2006: Vehicle bombing in Kabul takes life of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya)

Paul was a native of Hammond, Ind., and joined the Army Reserve in April 1997, two years after earning a master's degree in urban planning and economic development at the University of Maryland. In his civilian life, he was a senior land-use planner for Wasco County. The Army said Paul, a veteran of the Peace Corps, had received numerous military awards and served a tour in Iraq in 2003 as a civil affairs sergeant focusing on urban planning. Paul and other members of the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade were deployed last spring to Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Vehicle Bombing In Kabul Takes Life Of Army Reservist From The Dalles" September 12, 2006.


2006: Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) killed in car bombing in Kabul

Paul was a native of Hammond, Ind., and joined the Army Reserve in April 1997, two years after earning a master's degree in urban planning and economic development at the University of Maryland. In his civilian life, he was a senior land-use planner for Wasco County. The Army said Paul, a veteran of the Peace Corps, had received numerous military awards and served a tour in Iraq in 2003 as a civil affairs sergeant focusing on urban planning. Paul and other members of the 364th Civil Affairs Brigade were deployed last spring to Afghanistan. ��\blue{PCOL Comment:} One year ago, Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul (RPCV Kenya) carried on \link{http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2034986.html#POST49063, an ongoing dialog on this website} on the military and the peace corps and his role as a member of a Civil Affairs Team in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have just received this report that Sargeant Paul has been killed by a car bomb in Kabul. Words cannot express our feeling of loss for this tremendous injury to the entire RPCV community. Most of us didn't know him personally but we knew him from his words. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. He was one of ours and he served with honor. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Vehicle Bombing In Kabul Takes Life Of Army Reservist From The Dalles" September 12, 2006.


2006: Remembering Kenya RPCV Bob Paul

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Paul of The Dalles was killed in Kabul when a bomb-laden car exploded next to his Humvee during a patrol. In a written statement, Paul's family says he was the kind of guy, who if called for duty, would serve. They says he never turn down an opportunity because he always wanted to make a difference. They pledge to do everything possible to ensure his daughter grows up to know how much her Dad loved her. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PBS. "Remembering Two Oregon Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan" September 13, 2006.


2006: An intense life cut short in Afghanistan

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Paul (RPCV Kenya) was killed in Kabul when a bomb-laden car exploded next to his Humvee during a patrol. In a statement, his family said Paul "never turned down an opportunity because he always wanted to make a difference in everything he did." Paul wasn't as laid back as his image might have suggested: He was intense, very studious and sank his teeth into a project until it was done, Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: York Daily Record. "An Intense Life Cut Short In Afghanistan" September 14, 2006.


2006: RPCV Sarah Chayes believes the United States is paying for a mistake in Afghanistan now so widely acknowledged it has become a cliche: intervening militarily with "no concept" of how to "create a working society after the intervention"

Chayes's book, "The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban," represents a paradox of which its author is fully aware. She has used her years of non-journalistic experience to offer an intimate insider's tour through a complex universe Americans need to understand -- one in which warlordism, corruption and renewed Taliban activity have combined to undermine the "civil society" she was trying to nurture. Hers is the kind of fleshed-out portrait that even the best on-the-run journalism rarely provides. Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "A Voice In The Afghan Wilderness" September 19, 2006.


2006: Merideth Howard and Bob Paul made a supply run to a U.S. military base near the Afghan capital. They never made it back, dying in a fiery suicide bombing in Kabul on Sept. 8.

Paul, 43, of Hammond, Ind., had more experience than the rest. An urban planner and a Peace Corps veteran, he had volunteered to spend all of 2004 in Iraq on a provincial reconstruction team. Paul embraced civil affairs and all that it meant. He died with about $800 in his pocket, a sum that was to have bought a set of false teeth for the mayor of Mehtarlam. Civil affairs is not a new concept for the U.S. military, but provincial reconstruction teams are. The first team began its work in Afghanistan in 2003, a calculated attempt to try to fight the Taliban by helping Afghans rebuild. Almost immediately, the teams became controversial. Aid agencies accused the teams of blurring the line between the military and aid, possibly endangering traditional relief workers. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Customer Interaction Solutions. "She Was 52 When Afghan Bomb Struck: Merideth Howard, The Oldest Known Woman To Die In Combat, Was Behind The Gun Of A Humvee" September 24, 2006.


2006: Merideth Howard and Bob Paul made a supply run to a U.S. military base near the Afghan capital. They never made it back, dying in a fiery suicide bombing in Kabul on Sept. 8.

Paul, 43, of Hammond, Ind., had more experience than the rest. An urban planner and a Peace Corps veteran, he had volunteered to spend all of 2004 in Iraq on a provincial reconstruction team. Paul embraced civil affairs and all that it meant. He died with about $800 in his pocket, a sum that was to have bought a set of false teeth for the mayor of Mehtarlam. On missions in Afghanistan, Paul was the driver and Howard was the gunner, standing on the box to make up for her height, about 5-foot-4. For Afghans in this conservative tribal area, where most women wear burqas that cover everything, it must have been a bizarre sight: a gray-haired woman in a helmet on top of a Humvee. "That's why Sgt. Howard loved the turret," said Air Force Senior Airman Brenda Patterson, 26. "She wanted to give little girls dreams of their own." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Customer Interaction Solutions. "She Was 52 When Afghan Bomb Struck: Merideth Howard, The Oldest Known Woman To Die In Combat, Was Behind The Gun Of A Humvee" September 24, 2006.


2006: Mark Schneider is senior vice president at the I.C.G. and an expert on post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan

I.C.G.'s Schneider points to specific reforms in four major areas. "If you look at any post-conflict situation you really talk about security. You look at an effort to establish a functioning and effective government. You talk about restarting an economy that can be sustaining. And you talk about rule of law." Schneider says several things stand in the way of those needed reforms. Corruption -- both within and outside the government; the continued presence of armed militias; and the legions of insurgents intent on reversing the country's newfound freedoms. Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President of the International Crisis Group in Washington, was the second Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (El Salvador, 1966–68) to head the agency. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: VOA News. "Dispute Over Reform Agenda For Afghanistan" September 26, 2006.


2006: Drew Dix was recognized for his bravery in saving USAID nurse Maggie O'Brien (RPCV Afghanistan)

Maggie O'Brien was a civilian nurse from Dorchester who answered President Kennedy's clarion call to service by going to Afghanistan with the Peace Corps. She could have nurtured her opposition to war with a protest seat at home. Instead she chose to make a pacifist stand by serving the besieged citizenry in the South Vietnamese province of Chau Doc. In the course of 56 extraordinary hours, Dix and the modest commando force he led managed to extricate O'Brien and eight other USAID civilian workers in the midst of withering fire before going back to free the wife and children of a deputy province chief. The details of how Dix then went on to repel a much larger enemy force, capturing 20 prisoners (including the highest ranking North Vietnamese general officer ever seized), is one of those legendary feats memorialized forever in the citation that accompanies the Medal of Honor. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Herald. "Hero Gi, Dot Pacifist Forever Allied By War ; Medal Of Honor Winners Saluted In Hub" October 1, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes says: "I don't think Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan"

"I think all of that is a smokescreen -- but that's my own opinion -- and the people who are troublesome to Afghanistan are in Quetta. They are not in caves. They are sitting around in apartments and driving cars that are often licensed with ISI plates in Quetta. So Waziristan is like a red herring." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rediff. "'Osama Is Not In Pakistan'" October 6, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes on Life in Afghanistan After the Taliban and Why She Left NPR

"We said that -- we, the U.S. leading an international coalition -- said that we were there to not only dismantle the Taliban, but begin to lay the foundations of a respectful democratic country that would carry Afghanistan forward into the community of nations, as it were. But what happened was that our other motivations of the so-called war on terror ended up trumping those goals, so that instead of supporting thoughtful, educated leaders and helping bring them to power and helping develop that capacity for leadership, we basically recruited thugs, who were supposedly helping us in the war on terror and were meanwhile abusing, robbing their own citizens. And so, what you see now is just a terrible disaffection. It’s not an ideological opposition to the United States as a Western country. It’s just exasperation with the government that we ushered into power. " Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Democracy Now. "Amy Goodman: Sarah Chayes Joins Us Now. She’s A Former Npr Correspondent Who Covered The U.s. Invasion Of Afghanistan. She Left Journalism In 2002 To Run An Aid Organization In Kandahar Called Afghans For Civil Society. Sarah’s New Book Is Called The Punishment Of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After The Taliban. Welcome To Democracy Now!" October 10, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes says: "I think Pakistan has been using Al Qaeda figures as a way of buying off America"

"Osama bin Laden comes in 1996, and the Pakistani government was probably delighted to get some more money and some more seasoned fighters in Afghanistan. But then Osama bin Laden does 9/11, and the US comes and kicks the Taliban out of Afghanistan. In a way, it was Al Qaeda that ruined Pakistan's nice chess game. So why would they have any positive feelings about Al Qaeda? That is why he (Musharraf) has been turning Al Qaeda people once every two or three months." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rediff. "'India Is Pak's Fundamental Concern'" October 10, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes says that Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf is just not doing enough to stem the flow of the Taliban into neighbouring Afghanistan

"There is no doubt about it. I wouldn't be speaking to you the way I am if I weren't sure of this. Oh, my God! In Kandahar, it is so visible. I went to the border a year or so ago, and I just sat on the border to watch who is coming through the main border crossing. And there were at least half-a-dozen Taliban who came through in less than 10 minutes. I have so many examples of people who cross into Pakistan and there are Talib. You can have a discussion with them in the taxicabs. It's not just that they have the turban on. They absolutely are the Talib, and even when they don't have the proper papers the frontier guards wave them through. " Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rediff. "'India Should Just Shut Up'" October 12, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes named as the first recipient of its Ruth Salzman Adams Award

The Bulletin's Ruth Adams Award identifies emerging writers, filmmakers and video producers who have demonstrated the capacity to translate complex ideas and issues of peace and security into everyday language and images. The annual award provides $7,000 to $10,000 to one person for a project on a significant issue. Ruth Salzman Adams (1923-2005) served twice as the editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine. She was widely respected for shaping several generations of writers and researchers, according to Executive Director Kennette Benedict, who worked with Adams as a former official at the MacArthur Foundation. Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: EurekAlert . "Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists Taps Sarah Chayes" October 16, 2006.


2006: Sarah Chayes says: "It was a major blunder to start Iraq when Afghanistan was so fresh. Its a blunder because we -- the United States--just don't have the human resources"

"The American government, is in a way, over its head and it doesn't understand that you need to have a really textured, rich, intimate, long-standing local knowledge of places like this before you start running around creating governments. And, the idea that you can have that kind of knowledge of a place like Afghanistan and a place like Iraq at the same time is ridiculous, with nobody who speaks the language, with foreign service officers rotating in and out every few months, and the same with the military. It's a style of arrogance that to me goes even beyond colonial arrogance. At least during the colonial period, people came out and learnt the language, stayed a long time, they lived with the local population even if in a very hierarchical fashion. It was actually a lot less arrogant than what we are doing now. " Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Rediff. "'The Us Is Really Stupid'" October 16, 2006.


2006: Jeffrey Simpson writes: We can only hope, perhaps against hope, that Sarah Chayes is wrong

If her description and analysis of what has been happening is correct, then the Canadians stationed in Kandahar province are operating at least partly under false assumptions. Forty-two Canadian soldiers have died there, two on the weekend. Others have been wounded, their lives scarred forever. Afghanistan is now Canada's largest recipient of foreign aid. Parliament has approved a two-year extension of Canada's mission there. And the government insists that Canada will "finish the mission" and "get the job done." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Globe and Mail. "Pay Attention To This Voice In The Afghan Wilderness" October 17, 2006.


2006: Robert Paul upheld peace amid Afghan war

More than 150 people filled The Dalles Wahtonka High School auditorium, greeted by bagpipes on a wet, dreary Sunday afternoon, to praise the Oregon transplant who wore Tevas outdoor sandals to his wedding and spent two years in the Peace Corps. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Oregon Live. "Soldier Upheld Peace Amid Afghan War" November 6, 2006.


2006: The Dalles remembers Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Robert Paul killed in Afghanistan

Paul said her son never stopped charting his own path, whether it was taking German when French and Spanish were the only languages offered, or announcing over dinner that he had joined the Peace Corps. "His first year there, he learned Swahili, and that's a very hard language, I understand," she said. "Then when that year was up, he called and said he was staying another year." Kenya RPCV Robert Paul worked in a Civil Affairs unit in Afghanistan. He was killed in a car bombing in 2006. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: KGW. "The Dalles Remembers Planner Killed In Afghanistan" November 6, 2006.


2006: Hanna Bloch reviews The Punishment of Virtue

"Part memoir, part history lesson, part case study and part diatribe, The Punishment of Virtue is most compelling and original when Chayes chronicles her frustrations and modest successes in Afghanistan's Pashtun heartland. This is a passionate and emotional book, and that is its strength and its weakness. Chayes' empathy for Afghanistan is palpable and fuels an apparently heartfelt concern for the country's future (which she believes holds the key to the world's post-Sept. 11 future as well)." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Baltimore Sun. "A Grim Picture Of Afghanistan Going Wrong" November 19, 2006.


2006: U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Clint Douglas, a former Peace Corps volunteer, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Illinois National Guard, for more than six months

"Now, I had never in my pitiful life knowingly exchanged pleasantries over lunch, or any other meal for that matter, with a man who was regularly trying to kill me. But when Bill invited me to escort him to the castle for his first meeting with Audin, I jumped at the opportunity. The idea seemed so elegant, like the medieval Spaniards and Moors retiring to each other's tents to play chess and exchange bons mots after a bloody day of battle and slaughter. Perhaps the metaphor was unnecessary; we would, after all, be departing from our own high-walled mud fortress to visit another, albeit grander one. We were literally making a kind of feudal social call. This situation, however, was less straightforward; Zia Audin was technically on our side. And anyway, I really wanted to see the inside of that castle". Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Military.com. "Lunch With Pirates" December 12, 2006.


2006: "Peace Corps Online" and NPCA collaborate on story "Snowshoe Bob" in Worldview Magazine

Robert Paul died September 8 of this year when a suicide car-bomber struck his Humvee in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. Paul was in his third year of active duty in the Army reserves and had completed two years in Iraq commanding a civil affairs unit in Baghdad. Paul had also served in Peace Corps in Kenya and last year, while studying Thai at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, joined a 2005 e-mail debate peacecorpsonline.com (sic) about Peace Corps as an incentive for military recruitment. These are excerpts of his side of the discussion. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Worldview. "Showshoe Bob" December 21, 2006.


2006: Louise M. Pascale is republishing the collection of Afghan children's songs that she had compiled as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1960s

Rummaging through her bookshelf five years ago, Louise M. Pascale, an assistant professor of creative arts and learning at Lesley University in Cambridge, came upon the collection of Afghan children's songs that she had compiled as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1960s. It was sort of like finding an old yearbook, but instead of illustrating how hairstyles and skirt lengths had changed over the years, the tattered green songbook called attention to a greater change: The devastation reaped on Afghanistan after years of Taliban rule. Holding the relic, Pascale was certain that all remaining copies of the songbook, which she distributed in Kabul during her time in the Peace Corps, had been destroyed. She assumed they were lost, along with instruments and archives of local folk songs, when the Taliban outlawed music. "I said to myself, 'I want to give this back to the kids in Afghanistan,' " Pascale recalls. " 'It's not doing me any good in my bookcase.' " The songbook has come a long way from its creation nearly 40 years ago, when the 22-year-old Pascale realized, while traveling to Afghan schools to teach music, that students lacked books of songs. She worked with local poets and musicians to transcribe traditional songs. Pascale's goal, to return these songs to a country stripped of its music, will be realized in the coming months. But the project is not over yet. The Afghan minister of education has asked that songs now be gathered for adults, so a second book can be created. Pascale takes the request as a good sign: "It makes me feel that they see the importance of it, and they know that music is a way to solidify and connect the country." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Globe. "Kabul's Kids Given Their Music Back" December 31, 2006.


2007: Mauritania RPCV Jiffer Bourguignon writes: Afghan winter cold, but not like home

In Afghanistan, it is said that the winter is the calmest time of the year because "it's just too cold to fight." After the cold Green Bay has felt in the last week and the many weeks of subzero temperatures I have felt in Kabul, I think we can both see the logic in that. The water pipes in many homes here are frozen solid, as are the wells, and the remains of a snowstorm that hit town three weeks ago still blanket the city. The heat from the boukhari, the wood-burning stove that warms my office — - as well as roasts almonds and makes a mean espresso — begins to wane and I hike my shawl up around my shoulders, just as an Afghan colleague walks by in flip-flop sandals and no socks, a brash contrast to my Green Bay sensitivities. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Guest Column: Afghan Winter Cold, But Not Like Home" February 10, 2007.


2007: Dr. Mary Frantz and her husband, Dr. John Frantz joined the Peace Corps in 1968 and were stationed in Afghanistan, where they taught medicine

After 61 years of marriage, it's no wonder the couple are able to finish each other's sentences and still find laughs in each others slip-ups. And after 61 years of marriage, it's no wonder the couple are still abiding by their own advice: hang in there. The Frantzes share many interests. They met in medical school at the University of Rochester in New York. They had five children. They have traveled all over the world. The Frantzes, at the urging of their children, who were then ages 8 to 14, joined the Peace Corps in 1968. They were stationed in Afghanistan, where they taught medicine. All five of their girls joined them. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Monroe Times. "Hanging In There" March 24, 2007.


2007: As a female journalist in Afghanistan, Sarah Chayes embraced the culture - including dressing as an Afghan man - to win a host of powerful friends

From her experience in the Peace Corps, she'd learned to integrate with the locals, so when she ended up in Kandahar, she went to live with an Afghan family. "There were 22 of us in there, counting a dozen kids, not counting the cow and her calf and two oversized brown Turkish sheep," she writes. "We had no running water, but we did have our own well and reliable electricity. I spent the nights with my driver and my youngest host-brother, in the public part of the compound." The big advantage of her strategy was that she soon became accepted, enjoying privileges denied to other foreigners. She learned the Afghans' way of life - their tribal laws and their mendacity - and watched with growing disbelief as the invasion was mishandled. "Basically, I took what our governments said on face value," says Sarah. "There were two stated agendas. The first was the democracy, the nation-building thing, that we're going to help Afghan institutions into a healthy democracy. The other one was that we were going to hunt down al Qaida, but that was in contradiction with the first agenda because the way we did it was like cowboys." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Northern Echo. "Into The Soul Of Afghanistan" April 13, 2007.


2007: Hugh Thomson reviews The Punishment Of Virtue, by Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes's account is a welcome antidote to such tales of derring-do. An American journalist, she stayed on in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country after the allied invasion and has witnessed the lack of any clear US policy - and has spotted the reasons. She notices that staff are rotated after a few months on a "hardship station", with a resulting lack of continuity or purpose. The military have no good Pashtu translators, or even a clear sense of the clan divisions in a country where tribal loyalty is so important. The result? "The sails are always luffing," and America remains irresolute in the face of the warlords it relies on, and of the self-fulfilling presumption that the country is inherently ungovernable. Chayes' message is that the allies face an extraordinarily resolute enemy in the Taliban and need to be equally clear-sighted. Far from being ungovernable, the Afghans have a long tradition of local democracy; it should be built on, rather than relying on the thugs and warlords who killed her friend. This passionate and engaged dispatch from the field is in the best tradition of grassroots reporting; it is, quite simply, the best book on Afghanistan since the invasion. Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war  Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Independent. "The Punishment Of Virtue, By Sarah Chayes" April 24, 2007.


2007: James Rupert writes: U.S.-led forces kill Taliban field commander Mullah Dadullah

He was an inspirational and daring commander," said Rahi- mullah Yusufzai, a Pakistani journalist who specializes on the politics of the ethnic Pashtun regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan where the Taliban are based. "I don't see any person of his standing in the Taliban hierarchy," he told Reuters news agency. "It is clear that for now, at least, that there is no one who can replace him," Yusufzai said. Dadullah was attacked by troops of a relatively small, U.S.-commanded force in Afghanistan, supported by Afghan government troops and by the International Security Assistance Force, which is commanded by NATO, an ISAF statement said. The U.S.-commanded troops include special operations forces, and have been in Helmand in recent weeks but neither the ISAF nor the U.S. command released details about the raid during the weekend. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "U.s.-Led Forces Kill Taliban Field Commander" May 14, 2007.


2007: Thailand RPCV Leslie Wilson works as the head of Save the Children USA's mission in Afghanistan

The Afghanistan mission of Save the Children focuses largely on health and education issues. Afghanistan's maternal mortality rate is one of the worst in the world, and children's education has been hurt by years of Taliban rule and war. Ms. Wilson is cautiously optimistic about the organization's progress. "Despite all the political chaos, the military chaos," she said, "on the social front, on the health care front, there are good things happening." Save the Children's strategy has been to try projects on a local level that, if successful, can then be applied on a larger scale. One recent project worked with community health workers who were largely illiterate. Ms. Wilson said that the illiterate workers learned over the course of 18 months how to educate communities about drugs to prevent post-partum hemorrhages in mothers, one of the most common ways women die in Afghanistan. Ms. Wilson said the drugs and the program have been very successful and will be expanded to an entire province. She hopes it can become a tool for all Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "Beaver Native Lifts Children's Hopes In Kabul" June 10, 2007.


2007: Sarah Chayes writes: NATO didn't lose Afghanistan

"In 2003, NATO moved peacekeeping forces into Kabul and parts of northern Afghanistan. But not until 2005, when it was clear that the United States was bogged down in Iraq and lacked sufficient resources to fight on two fronts, did Washington belatedly turn to NATO to take the Afghan south off its hands. And then it misrepresented the situation its allies would find there. NATO was told, in effect, that it would simply need to maintain the order the United States had established and to help with reconstruction and security. In fact, as was clear from the ground, the situation had been deteriorating since late 2002. By 2004, resurgent Taliban were making a concerted push to enter the country from Pakistan, and intensive combat between American forces and Taliban fighters was taking place north of Kandahar." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: International Herald Tribune. "Nato Didn't Lose Afghanistan" July 10, 2007.


2007: Afghanistan RPCV Dr. Jon Summers is New Country Representative in Pakistan for the Asia Foundation

Dr. Summers brings extraordinary experience and background to the Foundation's efforts in Pakistan. His extensive experience in South Asia has fostered a deep understanding of development issues and dynamics facing the region, making him highly suited to lead the Foundation's efforts there at this critical time. Since 2002, Summers has been the Foundation's Afghanistan Country Representative, where he oversaw significant program growth during an important period in Afghanistan's history. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Earth Times. "The Asia Foundation Names Dr. Jon Summers As New Country Representative In Pakistan" August 2, 2007.


2007: Afghanistan RPCV Richard Johnson collects textiles from around the world

One of the items in Johnson’s collection is a wedding dress from the Sindh in Pakistan. It is fashioned of ochre, blue, magenta and purple cloth, nearly every square inch of fabric covered and made heavy with mirror embroidery, metallic threads and silver sequins. "I was told the mother begins making the wedding dress the day her daughter is born," Johnson said. The wedding dress and more than 50 other items from Johnson’s collection will be on display at the second annual Fiber College, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7-9, at Searsport Shores Ocean Camping Resort in Searsport. This will mark the first time Johnson has exhibited his collection. In fact, until he heard about Fiber College and was invited to participate, most of his collection was packed away in trunks and, in some instances, in the boxes the items were shipped in to his home near Sacramento, Calif. "This may have been brought to Pakistan by refugees from Afghanistan," Johnson said of what appears to be a section of a tribal garment ornamented with millions of tiny cross-stitches so small you have to squint to see them. He bought the piece in the 1980s. "The refugees would need money and they would bring things they could sell [as they fled]. This may have been made by many members of the same household." Johnson believes that the popular image of the people of the region where he worked, especially those of the Muslim faith, have been adversely portrayed by the violence prevalent there. "It’s a great mistake and a tragedy," he said, to believe that the majority of Muslims there are members of the Taliban or al-Qaida. "They are like the people here, families who need to provide for themselves, who like to celebrate. They are farmers. It was easy to work with the village people." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Bangor Daily News. "The Fabric Of The World" September 4, 2007.


2007: James Rupert writes: US loses ground as Afghanistan erodes

Afghanistan has slipped backward into a political "danger zone," the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned in March. In the broadest published evaluation of Afghans' attitudes, the center said Afghans are facing worsened physical security; greater threats from warlords, criminal gangs and corrupt officials; and more difficulty in supporting their families. In the battle against the Taliban for Afghans' hearts and minds, "support for America and for [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai is becoming less every day," said Eissa Wahdat, an Afghan government engineer who coordinates small development projects in Nuristan. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Seattle Times. "U.s. Loses Ground As Afghanistan Erodes" September 20, 2007.


2007: Dr. Thomas Gouttierre will be visiting scholar at the Václav Havel Civil Society Symposium

He speaks and writes Afghan Persian, Iranian Persian and Tajikistani Persian, and also has studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish. He was the project director of the development of the Dari-English Dictionary, and his publications include many articles on Afghanistan culture and a two-volume language textbook, “Dari for Foreigners.” Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: University of St. Thomas. "Leading Expert On Afghanistan Will Be Visiting Scholar Here Starting Oct. 6" September 21, 2007.


2007: James Rupert writes: Attacks by Taliban mounting

Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan at New York University, says leaders in Washington "utterly failed" to understand what was needed after the Taliban rout, which started with airstrikes on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 attacks in Washington and New York. "The Bush administration did not see Afghanistan as a long-term commitment, and its leaders deceived themselves into thinking they had won an irreversible victory. They did not consider Afghanistan important and always intended to focus on Iraq," he said. "Now the U.S. and international community have fallen way behind, and the Taliban are winning strategically ... " Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Attacks By Taliban Mounting" October 6, 2007.


2007: Afghanistan RPCV Pat Nyhan writes "Zigzag: A Working Woman's Life in Changing Times"

In sparkling prose, Pat Nyhan describes how she grew up in 1940s Chicago and broke out of the traditional female roles to become a newspaper reporter. But juggling family and work had its price and Nyhan often found herself having to make difficult adjustments. Still, as this moving memoir proves, those changes resulted in an ultimately rich and rewarding work life. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PR Web. "Powerful Memoir Explores How Changing Times Influence A Woman's" October 11, 2007.


2007: A fellow named Thomas Gouttierre is speaking in our community this week. He is a go-to expert on Afghanistan whose life should someday be a major motion picture.

Gouttierre and his center have raised eyebrows for their ties to U.S. government agencies and to a private oil company that wanted to build a pipeline in Afghanistan. The State Department asks him for advice and the U.N. hired him for its peacekeeping mission in the mid-1990s. (One of his tasks was to find Osama bin Laden, then barely on the radar as a dangerous jihadist. He says he determined his location within a few hours.) He once told a reporter for the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star that his sister doesn't believe him when he swears he's not a CIA agent. After 9/11, Gouttierre's visibility as an Afghanistan expert put the Omaha campus (the one where the famed Cornhuskers don't play) on the map. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pioneer Press. "Inviting Progress" October 11, 2007.


2007: James Rupert writes: Two years after his death in Afghanistan, Lt. Michael P. Murphy awarded the Medal of Honor

Murphy, 29 at the time of his death, becomes the first Medal of Honor winner for combat service in Afghanistan, and the first sailor recipient since the Vietnam War. He is the 18th Long Islander to win the award. Four U.S. Army soldiers from Long Island won the honor for service in Vietnam, where Daniel Murphy served and was awarded the Purple Heart for battlefield wounds. Murphy is credited with putting his life in danger in an effort to save the lives of three of his subordinates during a fierce firefight in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in June 2005. That month, Murphy and three other SEALs -- Petty Officer Matt Axelson, 29, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz, 25 -- were inserted by helicopter onto a remote mountaintop near the border. They were four men on a secret mission to track a high-ranking Taliban warlord, Newsday reported last May. But they were discovered first by an Afghan goat herder who stumbled upon their hiding place in a mountainside forest. Not long after, the four SEALs were surrounded by dozens of armed insurgents, and a fierce battle ensued. The lone survivor of the incident, Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, 29, of Texas, has called Murphy, the team's leader, "an iron-souled warrior of colossal, almost unbelievable courage." According to Luttrell's account, as told to Navy superiors and in a recently published book, Murphy displayed "an extreme act of valor" when he ran into the open -- and suffered a bullet wound when he did -- in a last-ditch attempt to call for help and save his fellow SEALs.Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Newsday. "Slain Patchogue Seal Receives Highest Honor" October 12, 2007.


2007: Sarah Chayes says the Taliban have scored a major victory near Kandahar

However, no matter what the outcome in Arghandab, the Taliban have scored a major victory, said Sarah Chayes, an American writer and humanitarian who has a home in Kandahar. "What I think is key to note is the symbolic, emotional weight of the Taliban being in Arghandab," Chayes said. "Even if the government and ISAF drive them back out in short order, which looks like it's going to happen, they have scored major (psychological operations) points." The significance of Arghandab district is difficult to overstate, she said. "It's like a bulwark of the city. It's where the mujahedeen were based when they were fighting the Soviets, and no one could dislodge them from there," Chayes said. "This whole thing has cast a terrible pall on everyone's mood. Everyone in Arghandab now has to doubt his own neighbor. (It's) a district that used to be a carefree garden." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: CanWest News Service. "Nato Forces Push Taliban Away From Kandahar City" November 1, 2007.


2007: Thomas Gouttierre to to talk about democracy in Afghanistan in Texas A&M

"It is important that students are informed on their government's involvement abroad," Gunter said. "Mr. Gouttierre is considered by many to be the leading expert on Afghanistan, and his hands-on experience will allow students to develop informed opinions about the current situation there." Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Batt. "Mideast Expert To Lecture In Msc" November 5, 2007.


2007: Sarah Chayes writes: A Mullah Dies, and War Comes Knocking

What had in fact transpired, in my view, was a deft, successful psychological operations action by the Taliban. Their attack on Arghandab was designed to communicate, and it did -- eloquently. It said that they are here. It said that, despite the likelihood that they would attack after the death of Mullah Naqib, no obstacle was thrown up to oppose them, and they were able to walk into the district. The targeting of the mullah's house was a deliberate affront. It said: "You see, o men of no honor? You can't even protect his house. You are nothing now." The sum of these messages was aimed at the ordinary people who are the prize in any insurgency: Our encroachment is inevitable, the Taliban said. You should align yourselves with the inevitable. In the end, after three days of fighting, the Taliban were not crushed in the jaws of a closing trap, as we had been led to expect. They executed a disciplined, fighting withdrawal -- one of the most difficult maneuvers on a battlefield. Even their retreat emphasized their message. Now, Kandaharis fear, they will quietly capitalize on this psy-ops victory. They will visit the villages and the mosques in tiny groups. They will instill their poison, a savant dose of seduction ("Brother, we have nothing against you; you are a Muslim, and we love you. Our fight is with the infidels. Let us pass") and terror: a "collaborator" tracked down and cut into pieces, a suicide bomber at a normally tranquil village crossroads. They will work to turn the people toward the inevitable. All of this is a pattern familiar from other districts. What troubles me more is evidence that the battle for Arghandab may have been a piece of psy-ops mounted by a different set of actors, aimed at a different audience, against a backdrop of diplomatic initiatives that would have been unthinkable a few short years ago. There is suddenly this backbeat -- persistent references in the media, unchallenged pronouncements by Karzai -- that the only way to end the "insurgency" is to negotiate, to invite the Taliban back to share power. This is a seductive refrain. After all, wasn't the IRA brought to the table? Didn't Yasser Arafat win a Nobel Peace Prize? Isn't it true that insurgencies are never defeated, that they are always accommodated in the end through negotiations? Except these Taliban are not home-grown insurgents. These Taliban, I have become convinced by evidence gathered over the past six years, were reconstituted into a force for mischief by the military establishment -- in other words, it seems to me, the government -- of Pakistan, as a proxy fighting force to advance Pakistan's long-cherished agenda: to control all or part of Afghanistan, directly or indirectly. Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "A Mullah Dies, And War Comes Knocking" November 18, 2007.


2007: Sarah Chayes writes: Scents & Sensibility

"This is what we do: Eleven Afghan men and women and I scour this harried land for its (licit) bounties and turn them into beauty products. Our soaps, colored with local vegetable dyes and hand-molded and smoothed till they look like lumps of marble, and our oils, elixirs for polishing the skin, sell in boutiques that cater to the pampered in New York, Montreal, and San Francisco. The scale of the effort—we sell about $2,500 worth of soap per month—is tiny. Still, our business, the Arghand Cooperative, represents what reports and think tanks say places like Afghanistan need: sustainable economic development. And it is almost entirely the product of private enthusiasm and generosity. From the institutional donors whose job I naively thought was to foster initiatives like ours, we have reaped much travail but almost no support. " Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Atlantic. "Scents & Sensibility" December 1, 2007.


2007: Thomas Gouttierre says Benazir Bhutto will be remembered as the first woman to lead a Muslim country and a beloved symbol of democracy and modernization to many Pakistanis

Benazir Bhutto will be remembered as the first woman to lead a Muslim country and a beloved symbol of democracy and modernization to many Pakistanis, said Thomas Gouttierre, dean of international studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Central Asia expert. She also will be remembered for her checkered record as prime minister, Gouttierre said, during which she and her husband were accused of stealing more than a billion dollars from the government. Members of Bhutto's Cabinet also quietly aligned with extremists like the Taliban during her second term as prime minister, Gouttierre said. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald . "Expert At Uno Sees A Complicated Future For Pakistan" December 27, 2007.


2008: Sarah Chayes writes: Benazir Bhutto's decision to anoint her son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as her successor tarnishes her memory

"Yet, in passing the mantle of the party she led on to her son - as if it were a family heirloom for her to dispose of as she wishes - Bhutto acted in contradiction to the very principles of democracy she claimed to incarnate. Saluted in the West for her sparkling vitality and genuine courage, the decision to anoint her son as her successor tarnishes that memory. It hamstrings the forces still struggling to establish open, civilian rule in Pakistan, and provides arguments to those in the region who believe that the very word "democracy" is just a cynical charade." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Boston Globe. "Democracy Led Astray" January 10, 2008.


2008: RPCV Suzanne Seidl Griffin survived a suicide bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan while working as senior project manager of education for the Save the Children USA program in Kabul

The attack took place at the Serena Hotel in Kabul on Jan. 14 and was the deadliest direct attack on a hotel in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Griffin was in the gym during the attack. "There was blood on the floor all the way to the kitchen. There was a lot of blood in the lobby," Griffin told the Associated Press. "There were shell castings outside." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Observer Online. "College Alumna Survives Bombing" January 16, 2008.


2008: RPCV Suzanne Seidl Griffin describes horror of Monday's Kabul raid

With a shaking voice, she recalled that they all kept quiet and even turned their cell phones to ring silently. When Griffin was finally evacuated, the 62-year-old senior project manager of education with Save the Children USA in Kabul said she had to step over a woman's lifeless body. Militants throwing grenades and firing AK-47s stormed Kabul's most popular luxury hotel Monday evening, breaching heavy security and hunting down Westerners. At least six people were killed, including an American and a journalist from Norway. The coordinated assault at the Serena, including a thunderous suicide explosion, killed six people and could signal a new era of brazen Taliban attacks. "There was blood on the floor all the way to the kitchen. There was a lot of blood in the lobby," said Griffin, of Seattle, told The Associated Press. "There were empty shell casings outside." "Thank God I didn't get into the shower because then we heard gunfire, a lot of it. It was very close, close enough that plaster came off the ceiling," Griffin said. "We all just sat on the floor and got as far as we could from any glass. ... We turned our phones on silent." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: South Bend Tribune. "Saint Mary's Grad Describes Horror Of Monday's Kabul Raid" January 16, 2008.


2008: Afghanistan RPCV Chet Orloff was director of the Oregon Historical Society and editor of the largest legal publication on the West Coast

In 1972, Orloff served with the Peace Corps in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan, an area he equates topographically with Bend, Ore. He said guns and poor living conditions were everywhere during his visit--a time that he said marked the early formation of the Taliban. "I had daily contact with Pashtun people that are now in their 30s and 40s, and I wouldn't be surprised if they're current Taliban," he said. "I had a revelation while working with the people who, despite the political atmosphere and rough conditions, were very proud to be a part of this particular culture. I realized there is a lot of will in people to preserve what is their own, and I wanted to bring that home." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: PSU Daily Vanguard. "Making History" January 16, 2008.


2008: RPCV Jan West shared stories, memories, and experiences with students while volunteering in Afghanistan

According to the Peace Corp more than 1.600 Peace Corps Volunteers lived and worked with the people of Afghanistan from 1962 until 1979, when Peace Corps pulled out of the country. West began her lecture dawning the traditional Afghani chadari and speaking from the perspective of a young woman growing up in Afghanistan. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Eureka Reporter. "Promoting Peace" April 11, 2008.


2008: Obituary for Afghanistan RPCV Susan Callahan

She first met her husband in Bamian, Afghanistan, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer and they later married in Beirut, Lebanon, where Mr. Callahan was assigned to the American Embassy as a foreign service officer with the United States Information Agency. Mrs. Callahan, along with her husband and family, lived in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen, the Philippines, Iraq, South Africa, Nigeria, and India. During those years, Mrs. Callahan was often a teacher of English as a second language. Later, during her husband's career in the State Department, she also served in the U.S. Consulates in Lagos, Nigeria, and New Delhi, India. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Cape Cod Online. "Susan Callahan" June 6, 2008.


2008: Mark Schneider speaks at Florida State University as part of the Human Rights and National Security in the 21st Century summer lecture series

“The resurgence of the Taliban today (means) they are more capable than they were two years ago,” said Mark Schneider, senior vice president of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization which advises governments on policies to avoid violence. Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President of the International Crisis Group in Washington, was the second Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (El Salvador, 1966–68) to head the agency. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The News-Press. "Peace Advocate Speaking At Fsu Warns Of Crisis In Afghanistan" June 23, 2008.


2008: James Rupert writes: Pakistan Sends Troops Against Taliban in Peshawar After Attacks

Local groups of Islamic militants, many using the label ``Taliban, have stepped up attacks this year across a 220-mile (354-kilometer) swath of Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun region adjoining Afghanistan. For the first time, they've taken control of villages just outside Peshawar, which is the seat of government for the North-West Frontier Province and for a semi- autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Area along the border. Pakistan's renewed vow to use force if necessary against the Taliban and allied militant groups is ``a good sign, said Mehmood Shah, a retired brigadier and former security chief of the tribal area on the border. Any negotiations ``must be carried out with the military option on the table, he said in a telephone interview, because hard-line militants among the border tribes will back down only under force. Journalist James Rupert, head of Newsday's international bureau in Islamabad, Pakistan began his career abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching mechanics and welding in Morocco. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Bloomberg. "Pakistan Sends Troops Against Taliban In Peshawar After Attacks" June 27, 2008.


2008: Sarah Chayes continues work in Kandahar despite deteriorating security

"I was very happy to see NATO come [to Kandahar], but disappointed that NATO hasn’t altered their policy of using corrupt Afghan officials," she said. "They have given a blank cheque to the local government authorities and you simply can’t do that. Fighting corruption is a daily process. You can’t just remove a few officials and consider the task complete."  According to Chayes, the ongoing process of NATO soldiers killing insurgents is negated by the fact that the unchecked corruption of the local government is creating an even greater number of volunteers taking up arms to join the resistance. She said the solution for this is for NATO to take firm control of the Afghan administration that they are fighting to prop up.  "These corrupt Afghan officials will respond to foreign pressure because they know they are in power thanks to NATO," said Chayes. "If NATO wasn’t here the Karzai regime wouldn’t last five days or five minutes because the people are so upset."  Apparently, the comments former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier made about the Kandahar governor being corrupt and in need of replacement were greeted with glee by the local citizens. Following the public exchange and Bernier’s subsequent withdrawal of his statements, Canadian officials told Chayes privately they wanted to discipline the governor, but the Americans would not allow Canada the latitude to do so.  This notion clearly upset Chayes. "If the Afghan government is a criminal enterprise and Canada’s stated mission is to support the government of Afghanistan, then what the hell are you achieving?" she asked. "Is NATO here to make five people happy or to make the whole province happy?"  Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war.  Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Trentonian. "Brave American No Fool About Life In Kandahar" June 29, 2008.


2008: Sarah Chayes teaches Marines about Afghanistan

Chayes spoke in detail about the interactions between local governments, the local community and even the American military presence in Afghanistan. She explained how each affects the other and how each group perceives current conditions, adding that popularity in Afghanistan is largely determined by how people treat each other. "You need to focus on what's going on in the community," Chayes said. By contributing to the community, an individual can gain support from the people, she added. Chayes spoke about Afghan social groups Marines may encounter while deployed to Afghanistan, and how the war is fought on a "different kind of battlefield." "Not only is it a war in the traditional sense, but it's about how interaction with the population affects the success of operations." Morocco RPCV Sarah Chayes has made a home in Kandahar, Afghanistan, became fluent in Pashto, one of the main Afghan languages, and devoted her energies to rebuilding a country gutted by two decades of war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: U.S. Marine Corps Bases Japan. "Author Teaches Marines About Afghanistan" July 11, 2008.


2008: The main force behind the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Afghan Studies program is its director, Thomas Gouttierre, whose fascination with Afghanistan started when he was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the mid-1960's

"Unlike the days when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, we can call people on cell phones, use email and we have excellent communication," said Thomas Gouttierre. Gouttierre and his staff in Omaha are working long-distance to improve education in Afghanistan. "What we are doing is trying to provide in-service training to teachers so that there is a kind of standard body of teaching pedagogy that each teacher, regardless of his or her training, is following," he said. Although Gouttierre visits Afghanistan every year, he says the Taliban guerrillas have made it too dangerous for U.S. students to work there. He says the Taliban threaten Afghans on a regular basis in some border areas. "They are able to move back and forth across the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan and into villages and pass out night letters suggesting to people that 'we are watching you and if your daughters go to school or your wife teaches school or you work with the Americans, we are going to get you and we are going to get your family," said Gouttierre. Gouttierre says he thinks the vast majority of Afghans have faith in U.S. efforts to help their country, but they are made uneasy by the fact that Osama bin Laden and others involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 remain free. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: VOA. "University Of Nebraska At Omaha Supports Afghanistan Recovery" July 16, 2008.

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