'A visitor to Afghanistan who ventures outside the American security bubble sees pretty quickly that President Obama’s decision to triple the number of troops in Afghanistan has resulted, with some exceptions, mostly in more dead Americans and Afghans alike.
So what can we do instead? Some useful guidance comes from the man whom Afghans refer to as “Dr. Greg” — Greg Mortenson, an American who runs around in Afghan clothing building schools, as chronicled in the best-selling book “Three Cups of Tea.”
The conventional wisdom is that education and development are impossible in insecure parts of Afghanistan that the Taliban control. That view is wrong.
An organization set up by Mr. Mortenson and a number of others are showing that it is quite possible to run schools in Taliban-controlled areas. I visited some of Mr. Mortenson’s schools, literacy centers and vocational training centers, and they survive the Taliban not because of military protection (which they eschew) but because local people feel “ownership” rather than “occupation.”
“Aid can be done anywhere, including where Taliban are,” Mr. Mortenson said. “But it’s imperative the elders are consulted, and that the development staff is all local, with no foreigners.” '
Three Cups of Tea is a great book, truly inspirational.