February 11, 2010

Name: Old Blue
Posting date: 2/11/10
Returned to: Afghanistan
Milblog: Afghan Quest

Some of the interpreters here at the schoolhouse have started a Facebook page called Support ANA (Afghan National Army).

The interpreters are very important to our mission, adding the ability to communicate with and teach Afghans of all types. The Afghan National Security Forces are obviously key partners, and they need to be able to apply the principles of COIN* in their own country. It is, after all, their fight as well. They are the ones who are going to have to live here in the future.

There are other key stakeholders in this fight, too; we teach and partner with various non-military Afghan government entities as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Without our interpreters, those interactions would wind up being pantomime sessions of extremely limited value. Several of our interpreters can teach any of the classes in our Program of Instruction (POI) by themselves. They are invaluable.

Our interpreters are patriots. Almost all of them have several years or more of experience as interpreters, and they are some of the best in the country. By experience, I mean operational, combat experience. They have put their lives on the line for Afghanistan and their American counterparts. One was even an ANA Commando until a wound ended his military career -- but he’s still contributing to the success of the fledgling Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Being an interpreter can be a dangerous business. They must be careful whom they disclose their
employment to. Some do not burden their families with the knowledge. One of our interpreters suffered a home invasion a few months ago. The reason? Because he is an interpreter. Like I said, these men are patriots.

They are also very open about sharing their language and their culture with their allies. They actively encourage American and NATO personnel to ask honest questions and truly enjoy it when someone expresses a genuine interest in Afghanistan, its language and its culture.

Having the opportunity to engage Afghan patriots is a rare privilege for the average American. I encourage you to visit their page and engage them in discussion. Get the Afghan point of view on the issues that face Afghanistan and the Coalition. These men are speaking only for themselves, but what an opportunity to get rare insight from patriotic young Afghans.

Here's an Afghan National Army commercial about suicide bombers, from the site:

*COIN: Counter insurgency


If any of your ANA terps wish to practice their English or expand their vocabularies, feel free to direct them to my blog, where I have a great deal of fiction and nonfiction posted. I tried the Facebook approach you suggested, but Facebook just isn't for me.

coins are very interesting objects, from the beginning of time, coins have become an object therefore important in society, I personally like to collect coins, as they are very interesting, from its design to its value

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