Monday, April 13, 2009

Cultural and Language training

This week we are in classroom training. Language training in Dari, Cultural training, Introduction to Islam, readings on the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan constitution and so forth. We have military instructors for about half of the material and the other half taught by contractors (ie former operators) and Afghanis, most of which served as Interpreters with our forces for the last several years. The goal is to allow us to interact favorably with our Afghan counterparts. We are to work by, with and through our counterparts, not just take control as is our natural inclination.

Reading list: the Army has provided some free books. Currently I am working on "Afghanistan A Military History" by Stephen Tanner, and "The Bear went over the Mountain" edited by Lester Grau.

You have to love a language where the number system starts off with yak, doo!

Words of the day
Tashakor- thank you
Sar Daard- headache


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/14/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. if you have time, try "a short walk in the hindu kush" (newby) and the incomparable "bugles and a tiger" (masters).

  3. I'm on my way there and struggling with my Dari lessons as well. Just a suggestion though, Tanner's book is pretty good, Grau's book will be of little use to you though. Read "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini and "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. These books will give you a much better feel for Afghan culture and some insight into the ethical code of "Pashtunwali."

  4. I would highly recommend The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk (he has two follow on books, also) that gives the history of Great Britain and Russia in Central Asia in the 1800s.

    Also, at least one other of our BRs is out at Ft. Reilly...