Michael's Dispatches

Afghan Bravery

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Published: 18 December 2008

This Afghan commander was shot in the leg but has not left his post. Afghan physical bravery is the stuff of legend. But seeing it here, in this man, in this place, Captain Means wanted the commander to know how much he respected his courage.

It’s hard to say how much of this fight belongs to the Afghans, and how much is ours. It should be theirs. It won't succeed until it is their fight -- even if they need some back-up help from us. One thing is certain: We are not “rebuilding” Afghanistan; it was never built to begin with. Centuries of repelling invaders kept the country free. But, perversely, it also meant that Afghanistan never benefited from the advances that most colonial power brought to the remote, primitive places they colonized.  And thirty years of war, from the day the Soviets marched in, in the winter of 1979, though the internecine battles of the past decade, has destroyed much of what was there -- from the roads, to the mud compounds to a certain amount of the culture, generosity and spirit of the people.

This story can also be found covered at Pajamas Media.


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