According to my buddy, Professor Salim Yaqub, Afghanistan was in desperate shape in the mid 1990s in the wake of the 15 year war with the Soviets. Famine, civil war, and undetonated landmines plagued the country. War had become a way of life, even for children.
I’m a tutor these days and I have been teaching kids word problems: “Ben was going 15 mph for 3 hours. How far did Ben go?” Pretty boring. But here is what an Afghanistan mathematics textbook for 4th graders said in the 1980s. You have to admit, it’s quite practical.
1) The Mujahideen are on the path of God in an attack on a convoy of the interventionist Russians and Communists. After most of the enemy are killed, 500 boxes of shells are siezed as booty. If in every box there are 820 shells, how many shells are siezed as booty.
2) The speed of a Kalashinikov bullet is 500 meters per second. If one Russian is at a distance of 3,200 meters from a Mujahid, and the Mujahid aims at the Russian’s forehead, calculate how long it will take for the bullet to hit the Russians forehead.
This primer was in use in parts of the country until 2000.
April 21st, 2011 at 2:01 PM
Thank you for the work you have done into the article, it helps clear away a few questions I had.
April 11th, 2011 at 10:10 AM
You can tell that the Afghans are godless because they use the metric system. Regardless, I have calculated the answers for these problems.
1. Zero. The CIA will provide more shells. Seizing them as booty will only reduce our funding. Fire these shells into the infidels’ corpses to make sure they are dead, or into the air in celebration, much like the hilarious American infidel, Yosemite Sam.
2. Too long. Why are you shooting at the infidel Russian from so far away? You cannot expect to be martyred at that distance. From 1 meter, you could detonate a bomb that would kill that Russians and many more.
April 11th, 2011 at 10:19 AM
Drew, I think that is the best comment I’ve ever read on any website ever. It made me laugh. It made my cry. It made me reconsider American foreign policy. It is not true. It is not false. But what you say is definitely more true than is remotely comfortable.
April 9th, 2011 at 6:11 PM
From the thimblefull of knowledge I have of Afghan history it seems that the country’s basically been a site for other people to invade since about forever (Alexander the great to the Brits and Russians in the 19th c. to Soviets then USA nowadays). Given that it’s not so surprising but sad that war is such a way of life. On the flip side, I think as a 4th grader if I had word problems like that to work out I would have done much better at math.
April 9th, 2011 at 8:17 AM
From the movie I remember that the US govt spent billions to get the Soviets out of the country, but would not allocate 5 million for schools afterwards.
April 8th, 2011 at 5:08 PM
Wow Jer, good post. Thanks for the insight.