Thursday's events fell into three groups. In the morning we attended the opening of a girls' school in Ghazni that had been funded by the U.S. Embassy and implemented by the Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in conjunction with the Ghazi Department of Women's Affairs. There were opening speeches by the governor along with an array of teachers, both male and female. The same message was repeated over and over again: 1) the Koran emphasizes that education should be equal for boys and girls, and is necessary for both; 2) learning English and computer skills (two of the principal subjects taught at the school) are essential to Afghanistan's future; 3) a woman needs education so that she can teach her family.
Last... Read More
Today was devoted exclusively to a tour of the ancient monuments of Ghazni, which stretch from perhaps as early as the Achaemenid or Persian period to the Timurid period in the early 16th century. This trip required us to travel to all sides of the city. Although we advised at the beginning of the day that there was a chance of sniper fire, improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers, we were extraordinarily well-guarded and kept out of harm's way.
I was not prepared for the intricate decorative brickwork that covered many of these monuments, especially the two minarets of early 12th century date. Much of the architecture is mudbrick and has deteriorated badly over the years—particularly the citadel, which may have... Read More
Early this morning we boarded a military helicopter and flew to Ghazni, nearly 150 km to the southwest of Kabul. The flight took us over the Hindu Kush mountains, which had been crossed by Alexander over 2,300 years ago. We're staying just outside of Ghazni at a PRC (Provincial Reconstruction Center), which contains a mix of Polish and American soldiers. Today's primary focus involved meetings with the governor of Ghazni province, and the plans for 2013 when Ghazni will be celebrated as the capital of Islamic Culture.
Many of you will be unfamiliar with Ghazni (as was I, one month ago), but between the 10th and 12th centuries, Ghazni constituted the center of an empire that ruled northern India, Persia, and much of central... Read More