Afghan Education: Both Sides Now

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Italian air force photo by/OF-2 Cristoforo Russo

Allied partners at Afghanistan's Shindand Air Base honor the launch of the first undergraduate pilot training in the country in three decades

In good news on the Afghan education front, the U.S. Air Force is hailing the first undergraduate pilot training held exclusively inside Afghanistan in more than 30 years. “Members of this first Afghan air force pilot training class: commit yourself to your studies,” U.S. Air Force Colonel John Hokaj told the Afghan students Dec. 10. “Aviation is an unforgiving profession. It does not grant favors or penalties based on who you know or where you were born. It is only concerned with ability. Set lofty goals and work hard to achieve them. Your success is completely within your control.”

Now for the bad news: the Taliban in Afghanistan are increasingly letting schools operate, albeit with restrictions, in areas of the country they control. “But this has come at a price — a more conservative curriculum and more mullahs employed as teachers in state schools,” according to a report by the non-profit, Scandinavian-funded Afghanistan Analysts Network released Tuesday. “The main losers in this new modus vivandi are Afghan girls.”