For hardliners in Afghanistan, the enemy isn’t the United States—it’s culture. In this year alone, the Taliban have bulldozed and razed 115 schools, and last week, they adopted a new tactic to handle Afghani girls seeking education. Acid-filled water pistols.
From the AFP:
Men on motorbikes used a water pistol to spray acid into the faces of Shamsia and around dozen other girls as they arrived at school wearing all-covering burqas in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday.
Shamsia, 17, was the most badly wounded and had some acid enter her eyes. She was transferred to a military hospital in Kabul where she was visited Saturday by other schoolgirls, accompanied by media.
“I will go to my school even if they kill me,” she told reporters. “My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”
America’s ‘me’ generation of students willing to shoot fellow classmates for their sneakers should be forced to learn from young people like Shamsia who risk everything for the opportunity to learn.
I also hope that military and political leaders, now considering a troop surge in Afghanistan, will recognize the need for a culture overhaul. If Afghanis can’t access alternatives to poppy crops and religious fanaticism, in the form of knowledge and opportunity, they are destined to continue down the medieval road they’ve set out for themselves. And the United States is doomed to fail in their effort to root out al-Qaeda.
Education and modernity remain the greatest threats to Islamic terrorists and Muslim despots.