My favorite is when you go to Afghanistan and you meet the special forces guys, and they look like these heavily armed surfers. These guys are the best. You see guys dressed as full Afghans, but then wearing a Yankees hat.
An information operations team was sent to Afghanistan to conduct various psychological operations on the Afghans and Taliban. The team was then asked not to focus on the Taliban but on manipulating senators into giving more funds and troops [to the war].
Throughout the last century there were multiple attempts at giving Afghan women more autonomy, to change marriage laws, to abolish the practice of bride price and child marriage, and to enforce women to be involved in school. Every time, the reaction from the traditionalists was one of contempt and scorn and at times outright rebellion. I think the emancipation of women in Afghanistan has to come from inside, through Afghans themselves, gradually, over time.
Afghans think the burqa is a permanent part of culture. But, if you bring it to Europe, how would people react? Afghanistan doesn't want to change its culture, but it can change, all the time. So why are Afghans giving so much value to it? The burqa is not natural. It's not human nature.
Because of you, in Afghanistan we've broken the momentum of the Taliban. Because of you, we've begun a transition to the Afghans that will allow us to bring our troops home from there. And around the globe, as we draw down in Iraq, we have gone after al Qaeda so that terrorists who threaten America will have no safe haven, and Osama bin Laden will never again walk the face of this Earth.
Do we really think that the United States will have the protection of innocent Afghans in mind if it rains terror down on the Afghan infrastructure? We are supposedly fighting them because they immorally killed innocent civilians. That made them evil. If we do the same, are we any less immoral?
Hassan and I looked at each other. Cracked up. The Hindi kid would soon learn what the British learned earlier in the century, and what the Russians would eventually learn by the late 1980's: that Afghans are an independent people. Afghans cherish customs but abhor rules. And so it was with kite fighting. The rules were simple: No rules. Fly your kite. Cut the opponents. Good luck.