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.