Peace Corps Afghanistan: 2002

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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

2002

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" 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.


References

  1. Weekly Standard. "Psyching Out The Taliban: The Army Plans Mind Games At Fort Bragg." January 13, 2002.
  2. US State Department. "U.s. Peace Corps To Heed President Bush's Call For Volunteers" January 30, 2002.
  3. Seattle Intelligencer. "New Peace Corps Volunteers Should Head First To Afghanistan" February 3, 2002.
  4. Associated Press. "President Lays Out Vision Of Peace Corps Expansion And Sending Volunteers To Afghanistan" February 15, 2002.
  5. White House Press Release. "Fact Sheet: The President's Commitment To Strengthening The Peace Corps" February 15, 2002.
  6. White House Press Release. "Fact Sheet: The President's Commitment To Strengthening The Peace Corps" February 15, 2002.
  7. Orange County Register. "Vasquez Gets His Orders" February 16, 2002.
  8. New York Times. "Bush Is Giving Peace Corps An Aid Mission In Afghanistan" February 16, 2002.
  9. US Peace Corps Press Release. "Peace Corps Director To Meet With Foreign Leaders; Vasquez Goes To Afghanistan, Pakistan, China And Peru" March 5, 2002.
  10. National Journal. "Kabul's Kids Will Soon Be Spelling 'Omaha'" March 30, 2002.
  11. Purdue University. "Purdue Faculty Return From Afghanistan After Fact-Finding Trip" April 2, 2002.
  12. MSNBC. "Afghanistan’s Security Woes" April 9, 2002.
  13. Register-Guard . "Many Afghans In U.s. Make Their Way Home" April 14, 2002.
  14. Army Times. "Troops Do What They Can To Make Friends" April 16, 2002.
  15. Washington Post. "The Peace Corps Will Need Some Backup" April 27, 2002.
  16. 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.
  17. Seattle Post-Intelligencer . "Kabul: A Dream Come True ; Woman Will Return To A Special Place Called Afghanistan" June 19, 2002.
  18. SIUE. "Ron Schaefer Served His Two-Year Commitment In Afghanistan" June 28, 2002.
  19. Madison Newspapers. "Ex-Peace Corps Volunteers Meet" June 30, 2002.
  20. Personal Web site. "The Afghanistan I Know" July 1, 2002.
  21. MSNBC. "Security Situation Perilous In Kabul" August 5, 2002.
  22. MSNBC. "Violence In Kabul" August 7, 2002.
  23. Idaho State Journal. "Volunteer Helped Afghans Rebuild" September 8, 2002.
  24. Go Memphis. "Afghans Should Get More Than Baseball" September 8, 2002.
  25. Chicago Daily Herald. "U.s. Should Focus On Afghanistan, Not Iraq, Scholar Argues" September 26, 2002.
  26. Oregon Live. "Year After War Began, Afghans Still Suffering" October 7, 2002.
  27. PCOL Exclusive. "My Wife And I Visited The Game Parks In Kenya And Tanzania In 1999" October 20, 2002.
  28. Knoxville News Sentinel. "Burka Symbolizes Faith, Modesty And Protection" October 22, 2002.
  29. Creative Loafing Atlanta. "The Founding Of The Atlanta Five" November 13, 2002.
  30. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Kinney First Manager Of Bay View Library" November 14, 2002.
  31. Atlanta Friends Meeting (Quakers) Peace Testimony. "An Open Letter To Zell Miller" December 6, 2002.
  32. Washington Post. "Courting Afghanistan Brick By Brick" December 7, 2002.
  33. Christian Science Monitor. "Rebuilding Akokolacha" December 10, 2002.
  34. Los Angeles Times. "Ventura Couple See Stoicism, Need On Visit To Afghanistan" December 20, 2002.
  35. Conway Mountain Ear. "Former Ear Reporter Serves As Medical Relief Worker" December 26, 2002.
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