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In Afghanistan: ISAF and ending violence

Part of our ongoing series on OLPC in Afghanistan

[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignnone" width="200" caption="The ISAF Logo: "]The ISAF Logo.  Komak aw Hamkari / "Help and Cooperation"[/caption]
In Kabul I met with General Stanley McChrystal, current commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  Joining us were other top brass including Rear Admiral Greg Smith, chief of telecommunications, to discuss OLPC in Afghanistan. The OLPC concept is predicated on the idea that technology can reach this generation of children and teach them to think critically, and analytically, and can connect them to each other and the world's body of knowledge. If these things were to come to pass for this generation of Afghani children, the world will look very different in ten years than it does now. McChrystal and Smith and others acknowledged that this is not a normal war. It is a war where the US is engaged in building better lives for the people of the country, a war which seeks to build social capital between the government and its people, a war which seeks to build peace by building education and ultimately prosperity. All were hugely receptive to the idea that OLPC could: 1) Educate this generation of children right now, 2) end the isolation of the Afghani people, and 3) build social capital between the people and the government. I asked McChrystal to be a champion of OLPC in Washington and in Kabul, and asked him to think about ways to fund every child in Afghanistan. He asked for the dollar figure. I said it would cost $1 billion to connect every child. He didn't blink. It can be done. In his words, "Our job is to end violence, and this is one way we can do it." Coming up in this series: Building partnerships and future preparations.

Comments

Lawrence MacDonald (not verified) says: Seems like an idea worth trying. USA Today reported recently that the monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan in February, most recent month with data available, was $6.7 billion. Shouldn't be hard to find money for the laptops! May 19, 2010 at 10 pm

Ben Falk (not verified) says: Yes, laptops will fix their problems and open their minds! If only it were this simple. Are you people nuts? May 31, 2010 at 8 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: Greetings, August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: We are interested in information about your program.
I am the Director of Coordination in the Khakrez District Center, northwest side of Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan. August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: We have 14 very poor schools.
Each school has about 120 girls and 120 boys. August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: How do we get laptops for the school children here. August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: There is an American unit near us that can receive equipment by US Mail, which is cheaper than FEDEX/DHL. August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: Thank you for your time & information. August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: Sincerely, August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: Tabeeb al-Hamahangee
Director of Coordination
Khakrez District Center August 19, 2010 at 1 am

Tabeeb (not verified) says: Khakrez, Kandahar Prov, Afghanistan August 19, 2010 at 1 am