Afghanistan: July 3, 2002


Training Afghans for the new national army has run into some problems. Like in the United States, not all volunteers are able to finish their training. The drop out rate in the United States is about a third, while in Afghanistan it's been about a quarter of the recruits While a job in the army is tremendously attractive, Afghans don't have a tradition of the kind of discipline the non-Afghan trainers are insisting on. Traditionally, being in the army meant wearing a uniform and having a license to steal. Your officers stole the soldiers pay and the soldiers stole whatever they could get away with from civilians. The new army is a lot providing intense training many Afghans would rather not endure, and assurances that stealing from civilians is forbidden. Afghan is a nation of traditions, and ignoring traditions is unpopular. 


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