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They Heard the Word Culture, and They Reached for Their Gun

Posted by The Agonist on October 4th, 2011

From our partners at The Agonist

Paul Smith | October 3

NYT – What is happening here in Afghanistan? Essentially, diverse groups of people who share the same country are reasserting their common sense of cultural identity after centuries of ravaging invasion, ravaging intervention, and even ravaging goodwill. Over the past 30 years, external imposition and internal revolt have destroyed infrastructure, leaving Afghanistan one of the poorest, least-developed countries in the world. But in 2001, the government and people of Afghanistan started to climb back to self-reliant democratic nationhood, resisting extremist interference. They were determined to achieve stability and security.

This is not just about economic development. Reinforcing Afghanistan’s cultural identity and strengthening the professional and educational capacity of its peoples are critical. Despite war and dereliction, Afghanistan remains a vibrant conflux of ethnic identities. It is a country of 30 million ordinary men, women and children who live for their families, their friends and their faith and who are proud of their vibrant ethnic diversity, their mature social identity and their astounding cultural legacy. Afghans have learned over millennium to sustain their values, despite living at the geographical nexus of other peoples’ imperial ambitions.

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