Friday, September 21, 2007

U.S. loses ground as Afghanistan erodes

by James Rupert from Newsday

The government and its foreign backers have failed to establish schools, clinics, police forces and other services to meet even basic needs of people scattered in Nuristan's roughly 300 mountain villages ... While the government operates almost no schools in Nuristan, the Saudi-based World Muslim League and other Arab religious foundations pay salaries for hundreds of mullahs, missionaries and madrassa teachers, said Abdulhai Warshan, a Nuristani journalist for the Afghan service of Voice of America radio. This Islamist network has been rooting itself in every district of Nuristan since the 1980s, when Arabs (and the U.S. government) helped fund the Afghan guerrilla war. With Nuristanis increasingly eager to educate their children, and without government schools, "the Arab madrassas have offered free religious teaching" according to the Saudis' fundamentalist Wahhabi doctrine, Warshan said. For a quarter-century, "it has been the only way ordinary people could educate their sons, and now Wahhabism and extremism have penetrated our area."

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