How the Taliban hijacked our educational materials…

Feb 22, 2011   //   by peretz   //   culture  //  2 Comments

Our Malik Dave had a won­der­ful idea. The rea­son­ing went some­thing like this:

Let’s employ the Afghan com­pa­nies that sprung up to print elec­tion posters.
They are cur­rently out of work because the elec­tion sea­son is over.
Lest we hire them, they may be up to no good.

We call this tech­nique weaponized shop­ping and it’s one of the tech­niques in the arse­nal of the Syn­ergy Strike Force.

Over the past month, Lou, Juan and crew have put them­selves towards select­ing and opti­miz­ing high qual­ity image files for large for­mat print­ing of edu­ca­tional mate­ri­als. We did a test run with the print­ers and then sub­mit­ted our final order. Yes­ter­day, (Sun­day 20th) Hameed and Najib went to pick up the posters.

As things turn out here, the shop owner had been arrested by the police on sus­pi­cion of print­ing mate­ri­als for (Al Qaeda or) the Tal­iban. When the police raided the store, they sen­si­bly con­fis­cated all of the printed mate­ri­als in their pos­ses­sion as evi­dence. Among this pile cur­rently in pro­ces­sion of the police are posters on the sub­jects of cell biol­ogy, hydrol­ogy, and the peri­odic table of elements.

Hope­fully, we’ll get them back. We did pay a good 4,000 Pak­istani Rupee equiv­a­lent of 45$ Pak­istani Rupees, called “Cal­dari” are the de facto cur­rency of Jalal­abad deposit.

Such a day’s course of events is start­ing to seem per­versely nor­mal for us, as much as I can still imag­ine seems per­versely abnor­mal for those whom I usu­ally count as peers.


Two days ago (Sat­ur­day Sat­ur­day is the first day of the work week. 19th) an attack took place in the cen­ter of town focused on Kabul bank where police offi­cers were col­lect­ing their pay. From our sources at the hos­pi­tal upwards of 40 peo­ple have died and many oth­ers are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. Among the dead are reported the “deputy police chief and the head of crim­i­nal investigation.”

Many of our friends at the pub­lic hos­pi­tal were on high alert deal­ing with the patients that stretched their capac­ity. Mean­while our friends at a local radio sta­tion were broad­cast­ing the need for blood donors across the air­ways, result­ing in hun­dreds of donors show­ing up at the hos­pi­tal, ready to give.

Our friends say that the only day in recent mem­ory that com­pares at the level of impact was when protests erupted in 2005 after it was alleged that the Koran had been flushed down the toi­let in Guan­tanamo.  The dif­fer­ences are stark. There are many more civil­ian casu­al­ties and this was not a pop­u­lar uprising.


Yes­ter­day (Sun­day 20th) was a day of mourn­ing. Two of our guards had lost a brother. Many of our friends had checked out for the day to attend funer­als for friends, rel­a­tives and acquain­tances. Our UPS (unin­ter­rupted power sup­ply sys­tem) had died but we couldn’t get it repaired because the shop of the com­pany that had built it was also dam­aged in the explosion.


We got hold of some exclu­sive footage.

In this video you see a cap­tured insur­gent and secu­rity video show­ing how he entered the bank dressed as a police offi­cer and started fir­ing. Sev­eral things stand out. Firstly, he looks like a clean cut young man, noth­ing like what we have learned to think of as insur­gent or ter­ror­ist. Sec­ond, while he is fir­ing hordes of peo­ple run past him, within a foot in dis­tance, and none of them give his vul­ner­a­ble back­side a good whack.

  • Rache­li­narobb

    Peretz, this is a great post. Thanks for shar­ing. Edu­ca­tion really is the most pow­er­ful weapon and they bet­ter believe, it is on! This is just the begin­ning of our period tables and water cycle poster bat­tle!
    Sat was a scary day and thank god our friends are all ok.

  • T$

    I find it inter­est­ing that no one attacked his back — I’d like to think that I would have done some­thing of that sort, but maybe basic sur­vival instincts take over.