Author: Massud Ebady
The American government spent millions of dollar on producing textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings. It was one of the schemes America used to cement Anti-Sovietism in the foundation of the Afghan population as a part of their cold war strategies. Unfortunately for Afghans the funding lasted for 20 years with the textbooks serving as the core curriculum in most Afghan schools. Finally in 1994 the funding stopped however the damage was done, “The pictures (in) the texts are horrendous to school students, but the texts are even much worse,” said Hakim Saheb an Afghan educator. The Taliban utilized the same books in their schools as it was aligned with their fundamentalist code which speaks volumes on the magnitude of extremism that was integrated in these books.
On the eve of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan American publishers had an unusual and exclusive order, the order of textbooks for schools in Afghanistan. The publishers were hard at work with millions of dollars invested to harvest one of a kind textbooks to mold young Afghan minds. Most educational systems are heavily reliant on textbooks as it is their source of information, instructors then convert it to forms of knowledge for students to comprehend. The students of today are the decision makers of tomorrow also perfect victims for the power hungry and policy makers to influence on.
The books were designed to familiarize children with guns, rifles and grenades then use them for times of Jihad. It mostly discussed Jihad in from of militancy against a suppressor. Images of guns were used almost everywhere especially to glorify Jihad against the Soviet Union, little do they know this Jihad was manufactured in Omaha University.
According to the Washington Post Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway the American government invested $ 51 million to publish these textbooks for Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994, in 2001 Laura Bush (wife of George Bush) promised only $ 6.5 million to the Afghan education system. Not accounting for inflation the American government spent 90 more percent on the so called Jihadi textbooks.
The UN finally stepped in to destroy 4 million textbooks to purge of the Jihad textbooks. American law also states tax payers money cannot be used to promote any religion however nobody was well aware of any of the covert strategies being used in Afghanistan.
America funneling money to support the Mujahideen cannot be regarded as an expense, it was an investment, maybe one of the greatest returning investments the Americans ever made. The return was the Soviet Union suffering a severe blow in Afghanistan and the expense fell upon the Afghans. Over 30 years of war, 6 million refugees and millions dead an expense numbers cannot explain.
At the time exploitation of Afghan children to mold them as Islamic fanatics to fight in the cold war was an ingenious idea. Reagan spoke highly of them “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom.” Islamic militants who were regarded as heroes at one point now find themselves on the CIA most wanted list with bounties ranging from $500,000 and $25 million. A drastic drop indeed.
As we analyze current affairs and witness current events before they enter the pages of history we usually fall into the trap of generating an opinion that may have been exactly the opposite we would have had if we read it in a history book. We skew the truth and begin basing our decisions and opinions on insights rather than plain old facts in the context of history. The mistake is a continuous one that happens to this very day. The American government poisoned young Afghan minds for their benefit to create not only a group of Islamic militants but a society. A never ending flow of fanatics who were ready for war controlled through the strings of propaganda. Afghans became expendable because of this Spartan like tradition America harnessed through the textbook. Afghanistan a bloodbath, the enemy preferred are the Soviets however in the context history this may be not the case.
Fortunately most of the books are not in production anymore however most are still in circulation in Afghanistan. It will take some time before they eradicate these textbooks, the knowledge uprooted into the minds of young Afghans who are adults now may take a long time. I have read some excerpts, one was for grade 3 students and demonstrated basic arithmetic through images of bombs, grenades and etc. Another one for grade 5 students explained militancy through Jihad, geared to build animosity against the Soviets.
Unethical is an extreme understatement, education composed of violence to inject hate and advocate taking up of arms is immoral. However to use education, an area that is hoped to bring enlightenment, to use that to decimate all innocence from a child, words can never explain the degree of immorality.