Monday, November 14, 2011

About Afghan and Pakistani textbooks

It is true that the University of Nebraska, Omaha, was the conduit of US funds to the Education Center for Afghanistan in Peshawar, Pakistan, between September 1986 and June 1994. It is true that the Afghan mujahideen authored textbooks, in Dari and Pashto, for primary school glorifying violence and the University did not object. It is true that even though these books were redacted to remove all violent material in 1992, they continued to be available in Afghanistan.

However, if this following is the source of this information,
"A" Is for Allah, "J" Is for Jihad Author(s): Craig Davis Source: World Policy Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 90-94
, available on scribd and elsewhere:,
then when Pervez Hoodbhoy writes, e.g.,

CIA funds went to buy advertisements inviting hardened and ideologically dedicated men to fight in Afghanistan, and a $50 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant, administered by the University of Nebraska, Omaha, paid for textbooks that exhorted Afghan children "to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs." These were approved by the Taliban for use in madrassas (Islamic schools) and are still widely available in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
it is wrong in that:

1. The textbook that exhorted Afghan children to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs, dates from 1970, during the reign of King Zahir Shah.
2. The textbooks with the other violent stuff were available in Kabul in May 2000, apparently pirated from the original US-sponsored texts, printed in Peshawar.
3. It is not clear that the textbooks were available in anything but Dari and Pashto. (Urdu would be the main medium of instruction in Pakistan.) Therefore "widely available in Pakistan" is both not in Craig Davis' text, nor is it terribly significant, even if true.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tarek Fatah on Pakistani schools

Paraphrasing: The number one problem in the world today is the Pakistani army and the anti-Hindu propaganda is merely a symptom of the problem.