Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mud Huts, Chai Tea, Villages with No Names

From the Rubble Rose a School

6/6/2006 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Happiness is hard to find in this country at war. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and in 1980 Noman High School became a casualty of war after it was bombed.

The school, located in the Parwan Province near here, had a proud past. It was built in 1921, and through the years some of the country’s top doctors, engineers and government officials walked through its doors.

When the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, the Taliban took over until 2001. The school remained in tatters until America waged war against terrorism and ousted the Taliban.

In 2005, behind the rubble, rose a new school. [snip]

Lt. Col. Donald Koehler, PRT commander, said the ruins were a testament to the determination of the people of the village of Charikar and the province.

“The dream that was Noman school refused to fade,” Colonel Koehler said. “It’s a school that will once again take its rightful place among the finest in Afghanistan and will once again provide the nation of Afghanistan with its future leaders.”

Toward the end of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a boys choir sang a song it wrote. The chorus line included, “PRT we thank you, America we thank you.”

Through the assistance of volunteers and the PRT, the governor announced his new Academic Excellence Achievement Award for the province by awarding mountain bikes to top students.

Before the winners tore off on their bikes at the end of the ceremony, the last thing the audience saw were the large grins on their faces.

Read the rest of the story of Noman High School.

Zarqawi is dead. The Taliban loses major forces whenever it comes up against us. We have decimated the Al Qaeda central command structure or forced it into a seclusion it would prefer not to hold. We kill or capture them every day.

But the real war is here. It's a school in Dijibouti. It's the marshlands of Iraq. It's a mosque in Paktika. It's about Operation Broken Windows in Samarra.

It's medicine in Panjwayi.

“In the last three weeks, the citizens of Pashmul and Bazaar-e-Panjwayi have helped Afghan and coalition security forces drive Taliban fighters out of the Panjwayi district,” said Canadian Brigadier-General David Fraser, commander of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the coalition are committed to continuing to improve security. These mobile medical clinics and humanitarian supplies are intended to assist these courageous Afghans.”

It's in mud huts, over glasses of chai tea in villages with names we can't pronounce.

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