The Beauty of Afghanistan

“When a young American engineer Glenn Foster arrived in Afghanistan, he found a country rushing towards the future. The people are ‘exploding out into the open,’ he said later. ‘The spirit of a new era is driving them at a furious pace.’

It was 1952. Afghanistan was still a kingdom, and King Zahir had hired foreign technicians — including American engineers and construction specialists — to help build the new post-war Afghanistan. Post-World War Two, that is.”

You can read the fascinating article here and see some of my thoughts below…


Every once in awhile you read something and realize that maybe you should have been born in a different decade. The article previewed above about post-WWII Afghanistan is one of those articles.

I first became aware of Afghanistan in a 12th grade English class when we read “The Kite Runner” and I first learned about a different side of the country than that which had been almost constantly on TV since September 11th. This book, and our guest speaker, talked about a world that I knew nothing about. I learned a little about Islam and an Afghanistan that at one time was beautiful and full of life. I learned how much I didn’t know about the world and that really bugged me. When people ask me how I ended up studying international relations I tell them about this experience and the desire that I suddenly had to learn more about the world, more about Islam, and more about the Middle East.

I think reading books like “The Kite Runner” and seeing videos like those in this article are extremely important because they help us to learn about history and the changing nature of the world. My generation only knows a backwater and conflict ridden Afghanistan full of hatred, but this was not always the case. Afghanistan, like Iran, Iraq, Syria, and so many countries around the world, has the potential to be great and so do its people.

I think this is an important lesson to learn and understand, that current circumstances do not dictate the future or necessarily represent the past. It is possible for calmer minds and more reasonable heads to prevail. Facts and videos like these give me hope for the future of foreign policy work.

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