One of the reasons that Dan Terry’s work in Afghanistan was so important is that he was bridging the large societal gap between Western and Eastern powers. It is important to recognize that the work Dan was attempting to do was by no means easy; people from the West have many different views than people from the Middle East. Unfortunately it often seems that these views are in direct contrast with each other. This was highlighted for me today when two news stories (released around the same time) had differing views on the future of Afghanistan. One article, which appeared in The Guardian (a news organization based in the U.K.) was under the impression that once foreign troops withdraw in 2014, Afghanistan will not be prepared and ready to lead on its own. An opposing view appeared in a Khaleej Times article (based in the UAE) that claimed that Afghanistan was well prepared for the final withdraw of troops.
Read the Khaleej Times article here
Read The Guardain article here
Why do you think both sides feel so differently? Is there any way we will know for sure until 2014? In the meantime though, we should continue to strive to get to know “the other side”, just as Dan Terry would have.