Towards the end of the cold war, the U.S. spent millions " to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation."

From the article:

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code. What seemed like a good idea in the context of the Cold War is being criticized by humanitarian workers as a crude tool that steeped a generation in violence. Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994. ** Interesting and perhaps relevant tidbits: * With respect to Saudi Arabia establishing madrasas in Afghanistan in the 1980s, “We have to remember…that the original purpose of these schools was strategic. The fighting with the Soviets had tragic consequences—it was creating a lot of orphans.… The plan was to…put [the orphans] through school—then ship them to the front. The Saudis get the blame…but…many of…[the madrasas] were part of a joint U.S.-Saudi project to take these poor kids and make them warriors for the West.” (Robert Lacey, Inside The Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia, Viking, Toronto: 2009) * “There were no Wahhabi suicide bombers until after the Reagan administration launched its struggle, with the help of the mujahideen, against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and there is no warrant in Wahhabism for suicide, or it would not have taken 150 years for it to occur to a Wahhabi fighter to sacrifice himself in that way. It is wrong to tar all the members of a religious tradition with the brush of terrorism based on the actions of a small number of persons among them.” (Juan Cole; Engaging The Muslim World; Palgrave Macmillan; New York: 2009; 111) * “The U.S. government was well aware of the Taliban’s reactionary program, yet it chose to back their rise to power in the mid-1990s. The creation of the Taliban was ‘actively encouraged by the ISI and the CIA,’ according to Selig Harrison, an expert on U.S. relations with Asia. ‘The United States encouraged Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to support the Taliban, certainly right up to their advance on Kabul,’ adds respected journalist Ahmed Rashid. When the Taliban took power, State Department spokesperson Glyn Davies said that he saw ‘nothing objectionable’ in the Taliban’s plans to impose strict Islamic law, and Senator Hank Brown, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia, welcomed the new regime: ‘The good part of what has happened is that one of the factions at last seems capable of developing a new government in Afghanistan.’

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