In Afghanistan: ISAF and ending violence

Part of our ongoing series on OLPC in Afghanistan

The ISAF Logo.  Komak aw Hamkari / "Help and Cooperation"

The ISAF Logo:

In Kabul I met with General Stanley McChrystal, current commander of the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  Joining us were other top brass including Rear Admiral Greg Smith, chief of telecommunications, to discuss OLPC in Afghanistan.

The OLPC concept is predicated on the idea that technology can reach this generation of children and teach them to think critically, and analytically, and can connect them to each other and the world’s body of knowledge. If these things were to come to pass for this generation of Afghani children, the world will look very different in ten years than it does now.

McChrystal and Smith and others acknowledged that this is not a normal war. It is a war where the US is engaged in building better lives for the people of the country, a war which seeks to build social capital between the government and its people, a war which seeks to build peace by building education and
ultimately prosperity.

All were hugely receptive to the idea that OLPC could: 1) Educate this generation of children right now, 2) end the isolation of the Afghani people, and 3) build social capital between the people and the government.

I asked McChrystal to be a champion of OLPC in Washington and in Kabul, and asked him to think about ways to fund every child in Afghanistan. He
asked for the dollar figure. I said it would cost $1 billion to connect every child. He didn’t blink. It can be done. In his words, “Our job is to end violence, and this is one way we can do it.

Coming up in this series: Building partnerships and future preparations.

8 thoughts on “In Afghanistan: ISAF and ending violence

  1. To think that if we just stopped the senseless war attributes that we could provide an educational experience to those who are less fortunate. Imagine that amount of non ignorance there could be…. Honestly it could result in less wars just saying…

  2. As a game lover, i always believe that some games could change a personality for the best, by living in a world created far from the real problems.

  3. Dear Taheeb,
    Have you received a response to your email submitted August 19th? I work closely with OLPC and wanted to be sure someone had followed up with you- please let me know, thanks!

  4. Greetings,

    We are interested in information about your program.
    I am the Director of Coordination in the Khakrez District Center, northwest side of Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan.

    We have 14 very poor schools.
    Each school has about 120 girls and 120 boys.

    How do we get laptops for the school children here.

    There is an American unit near us that can receive equipment by US Mail, which is cheaper than FEDEX/DHL.

    Thank you for your time & information.


    Tabeeb al-Hamahangee
    Director of Coordination
    Khakrez District Center

    Khakrez, Kandahar Prov, Afghanistan

  5. Yes, laptops will fix their problems and open their minds! If only it were this simple. Are you people nuts?

  6. Seems like an idea worth trying. USA Today reported recently that the monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan in February, most recent month with data available, was $6.7 billion. Shouldn’t be hard to find money for the laptops!

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