I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns a few weeks ago and am working on a review for it but it is taking longer than I want. The big thing that it made me realize is that we have completely forgotten about this war. A war in which a close neighbor of mine is on the front lines of putting his life on the line.
In the book Hosseini covers 30 years of Afghan history, though it is a work of fiction he does reference many historical periods and events throughout the story. One thing that is mentioned again and again is that the warring will always come back and as we are seeing now the Taliban has made a huge shift in momentum. Even against the mightly US military:
Nagl listed a catalogue of challenges in Afghanistan, including its harsh climate and terrain, its lack of centralized government in the past 30 years, the destruction of roads and other basic infrastructure, and the state of its army.
“I’ve worked with the Afghan security forces a little bit. I find them to be diligent and dedicated and trainable (but) not particularly well educated … The Iraqi security forces are far more advanced than are the Afghans,” he said.
“The Taliban did extraordinarily harmful things to the intelligentsia of the country. The people you need to run a country no longer exist.”
The last sentence there is the critical component of what we are missing and what we have left out since our intervention in the 80’s with the USSR’s war there. There is a huge vacuum with regards to education in Afghanistan. What is there to replace it is obvious: Radical Fundamentalist Islam.
Mccain’s answer is for more guns, but the need is for more books.