Peace Corps Afghanistan: 2001

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Peace Corps was active in Afghanistan from 1962 to 1976. Although President Bush proposed returning the Peace Corps to the country in 2002, the security situation in the country has not allowed a return to Afghanistan but the legacy of the Peace Corps' fourteen years in Afghanistan lives on in the many RPCVs who lives were deeply affected by their work in the country and in the many RPCVs who served in other countries but who now work in Afghanistan in civil affairs, diplomacy, as aid workers in NGO's and as journalists. RPCVs with an Afghan connection include Thomas Gouttierre who became Director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1974; Sarah Chayes (RPCV Morocco) who since 2002 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; James Rupert (RPCV Morocco) who has reported on on Afghanistan since the 1980's for Newsday, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post; and Ben Rosen (RPCV Iran) who since 1995 has worked with Teacher's College to produce textbooks, design curriculum, recruit teachers and help local ministries take over these tasks and who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to help reopen the college.

Peace Corps was active in Afghanistan from 1962 to 1976. Although President Bush proposed returning the Peace Corps to the country in 2002, the security situation in the country has not allowed a return to Afghanistan but the legacy of the Peace Corps' fourteen years in Afghanistan lives on in the many RPCVs who lives were deeply affected by their work in the country and in the many RPCVs who served in other countries but who now work in Afghanistan in civil affairs, diplomacy, as aid workers in NGO's and as journalists. RPCVs with an Afghan connection include Thomas Gouttierre who became Director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1974; Sarah Chayes (RPCV Morocco) who since 2002 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; James Rupert (RPCV Morocco) who has reported on on Afghanistan since the 1980's for Newsday, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post; and Ben Rosen (RPCV Iran) who since 1995 has worked with Teacher's College to produce textbooks, design curriculum, recruit teachers and help local ministries take over these tasks and who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to help reopen the college.


Contents

2001

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.


References

  1. Inside Medill News. "Chayes Reports On Life In The Trenches" March 27, 2001.
  2. Nuvo. "“Dying Right In Our Hands”" May 31, 2001.
  3. NBCI. "Terry Dougherty's Afghanistan - Peace Corps Experiences" June 28, 2001.
  4. Student Advantage. "Dave Wilson Reflects On His Peace Corps Assignment In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.
  5. 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.
  6. The Thinker. "The Peace Corps Provided Us With The Necessities Of Life In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.
  7. Cincinnati Post. "Peace Corps Vets Share Exotic Fare" June 28, 2001.
  8. Rug Review. "The Peace Corps And The Making Of A Rug Dealer By George W. O'bannon" June 28, 2001.
  9. University of Wisconsin. "Donald E. Hanna And His Wife Served Together In The Peace Corps In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.
  10. University of Michigan. "Louise Baldwin Spent Three Years As A Peace Corps Volunteer In Afghanistan" June 28, 2001.
  11. Ohio. "Mark Ishige's Curry In A Hurry Makes Indian Food" June 28, 2001.
  12. Afghan Magazine. "Lessons In Growing Up In Afghanistan By Rpcv Caryn Giles Lawson" June 28, 2001.
  13. Post Gazette. "First Person: Memories Of Afghanistan By Rpcv Donna Klaput" June 28, 2001.
  14. Personal Web Site. "Years Off The Beaten Path By Susan Sprachman Afghanistan Rpcv 1969 - 71" June 29, 2001.
  15. [ Dayton Daily News. "Child File; 14th Century Traveler Inspires Author" September 20, 2001.]
  16. 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.
  17. GRP Press. "Afghanistan Is A Different World ; Time In Peace Corps Provided A View Inside A Diverse Country" October 14, 2001.
  18. 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.
  19. [ St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Relief Worker Illustrates Problems In Aiding Refugees ; Taliban Impose Rules, Take Bribes" October 15, 2001.]
  20. [ Medical Students for Choice (MSFC). "Medical Students For Choice Addresses Anthrax Threats Against Abortion Providers" October 18, 2001.]
  21. Center for Women. "What Of Women In Afghanistan?" November 6, 2001.
  22. C4Women. "What Of Women In Afghanistan?" November 6, 2001.
  23. 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.
  24. Omaha World Herald. "November 14 - Omaha World Herald: Rpcv Expert On Taliban Comments On Afghan Situation" November 19, 2001.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Wall Street Journal. "Read The Full Story About Psychological Warfare In Afghanistan At:" November 27, 2001.
  28. Andover Bulletin Online. "A Night In The Taliban Kitchen" December 1, 2001.
  29. United Nations. "Press Briefing By The Un Offices For Pakistan And Afghanistan By Carol Bellamy, Executive Director Of Unicef" December 4, 2001.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. News Telegraph. "Hippy Who Waged War With Music And Posters Toby Harnden Meets America's Experts In Psychological Warfare" December 8, 2001.
  33. 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.
  34. MSNBC. "Carmel Man Raising Money For Afghan Orphans" December 11, 2001.
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