Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication, Map

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

We want first to thank our contributors—writers and photographers—for their marvelous work. They have kindly and generously shared their knowledge with us so that readers might develop a clearer picture of the situation and possible solutions. We are honored by their participation...

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Introduction

Jennifer Heath

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pp. 1-34

“War is not healthy for children and other living things” is a truism that has been ignored from the beginning of human life on our planet.1 And nowhere, in the past forty years, has it been truer than in Afghanistan, whose children endure poverty, social inequality, invasion, civil war, occupation, displacement...

Part 1. The Way We Were; The Way We’re Seen

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1. Before the Wars: Memories of Childhood in the Pre-Soviet Era

Amina Kator-Mubarez

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pp. 37-50

I am an ethnic Tajik, born and raised in Kabul. I had an extremely privileged upbringing; my father served as the secretary general to King Habibullah.2 At the time, it was customary for wealthy men to have several wives so long as the man treated them equally.3 My mother was my father’s third wife. I have...

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2. Narratives of Afghan Childhood: Risk, Resilience, and the Experiences That Shape the Development of Afghanistan as a People and a Nation

Anne E. Brodsky

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pp. 51-68

When Afghans and foreigners speak of the future of Afghanistan, a realistic vision must take into account the innumerable forces at play in the country. These range from the global (e.g., Pakistan, the United States, Al Qaeda, China; global economics; radical Islam; climate change) to the national (e.g...

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3. Jumping Rope in Prison: The Representation of Afghan Children in Film

Teresa Cutler-Broyles

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pp. 69-78

One of the most beautiful and potent scenes in the 2006 Bollywood film Kabul Express1 occurs eight minutes in: the camera peers from a slightly low angle at a string of ragged, broken buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a tank rolls by. Silhouetted in the foreground, black against the yellow/brown/orange...

Part 2. Ties That Bind: The Family in Rebound

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4. Love, Fear, and Discipline in Afghan Families

Deborah J. Smith

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pp. 81-95

In 2006, the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) launched a broad research project investigating the changing nature of family dynamics in Afghanistan, particularly how family structure and changing gender and generational roles and relations impact on levels of violence within the family...

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5. Children Who Live with Their Mothers in Prison

Esther Hyneman

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pp. 96-111

In 2009, I was in the nursery of Badam Bagh, then a new women’s prison in Kabul. The prison held about 100 prisoners and sixty-five children—babies in cradles, toddlers teetering in tiny walkers, children as old as thirteen running around. Suddenly an eleven-year-old boy rushed up to my translator: “Please...

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6. Little Brides and Bridegrooms: Systemic Failure, Cultural Response

Sharifa Sharif

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pp. 112-124

All around the world, children, especially girls, lose their childhoods, dreams, hopes, and health to marriages contracted by their parents in exchange for money, honor, or other girls. A report by Girls Not Brides, an initiative of the Elders Foundation, indicates that every year, worldwide, ten million girls...

Part 3. Survival by Any Means Possible

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7. Confronting Child Labor

Amanda Sim

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pp. 127-142

Child labor is an issue of growing concern in Afghanistan. According to recent estimates, one in four Afghan children aged seven to fourteen is engaged in some form of work.1 Although poverty is an obvious contextual factor that dominates the decision making of all thirty-three rural and urban households...

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8. The Parakeet Boys: Performing Education in the Streets of Kabul

Wahid Omar

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pp. 143-152

Since 2001 and the fall of the Taliban, Kabul, Afghanistan, has transformed from a ghost town, perforated by millions of bullets, into a dusty city consumed by construction sites, polluting generators and cars, and an increasing population. Rebuilding the streets of Kabul, its sewage system, and other...

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9. Child Soldiering in Afghanistan

Delphine Boutin

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pp. 153-169

Little is known about the history of child soldiers in Afghanistan, although it is believed that the exploitation of children as combatants has been prevalent throughout the country’s ongoing conflict of the past more than forty years.1 Since the late nineties, Afghan children are known to have been fighting...

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10. Legal Protection: Offering Aid and Comfort

Hangama Anwari

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pp. 170-184

Preventing, responding to, and addressing violence against children requires a legal framework. Such a framework must first reflect the real needs of and concerns about issues related to the protection of children, and it should be comprehensive and responsive. In addition, the legal framework should be...

Part 4. To Be Whole in Mind and Body

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11. Children’s Health: The Challenge of Survival

Steven Solter

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pp. 187-197

Surviving to the age of five has always been a challenge for Afghan children. Even before 1979, when the current sustained period of violence began with the Soviet invasion, Afghan children experienced among the highest mortality rates found anywhere. More than one-fourth of all children died by their...

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12. Food Security and Nutrition for Afghan Children

Fitsum Assefa, Annalies Borrel, and Charlotte Dufour

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pp. 198-211

Despite ten years of significant investments in reconstruction and development, children in Afghanistan continue to suffer from undernutrition.1 Its persistence is a result of complex factors that include lack of access to high-quality food that provides the nutrients a child needs to grow and be healthy...

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13. Desperately Seeking Harun: Children with Disabilities

Lael Adams Mohib

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pp. 212-225

In the well-known story of Moses (Musa) and Aaron (Harun), God calls upon Moses to undertake a seemingly impossible journey—confronting the Egyptian Pharaoh and freeing the Israelites from a tyrannical rule. Moses was an unlikely character to present God’s case before the Pharaoh—he had a disability...

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14. “Life Feeds on Hope”: Family Mental Health, Culture, and Resilience

Mark Eggerman and Catherine Panter-Brick

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pp. 226-238

For many outsiders, Afghanistan encapsulates the ongoing brutality of war, the misery of poverty, and the basic violation of many human rights. Violent conflict and population displacement have disrupted access to health care, steady employment, and formal education. Young Afghans grow up in environment...

Part 5. Education: Nurturing the Future

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15. Education in Transition: A Key Concern for Young Afghan Returnees

Mamiko Saito

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pp. 241-254

After decades of protracted conflict, according to 2007 United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics, half of registered Afghan populations in Pakistan and Iran were born in exile,1 in a second or even a third generation of displacement. Refugees who returned to Afghanistan were...

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16. Primary and Secondary Education: Exponential Growth and Prospects for the Future

Omar Qargha

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pp. 255-268

The stability of Afghanistan, and the region, is directly connected to how well Afghan youth are prepared for dealing with the many challenges they face now and in the decades to come. This is one of the most important, yet most difficult, development goals for the country. Afghan children today are...

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17. Music and Literacy: A New Approach to Education

Louise M. Pascale

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pp. 269-282

My first introduction to the educational system in Afghanistan was in 1966. I had just graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in music, and I held an elementary education teaching certificate. Two years after graduation I joined the United States Peace Corps and was assigned to...

Part 6. Communicating Empowerment

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18. “Thanks God for the Twitter and the Facebook! Thanks God for That!”

Lauryn Oates

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pp. 285-297

I was slumped in the backseat of a cab darting down Granville Street in Vancouver. It was late at night and I was yearning for bed after thirty-six hours on five different flights through three continents, making my way home from Kabul to the small island where I live on Canada’s west coast. It was July...

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19. The New Storytellers of Afghanistan

Joanna Sherman

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pp. 298-310

We are driving on the dusty road to Shamoli, surrounded by the rocky hills that grow into craggy mountains in the distance. We are actors from Bond Street Theatre,1 and we are going to meet a storyteller—one of the last of Afghanistan’s old traditions, and the roots of its theatre.
We walk through the village, dirt paths well worn under our feet. A passel...

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20. Six Epiphanies: Testament to Change from Inside an Afghan Orphanage

Ian Pounds

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pp. 311-322

The following are select narratives from my time as an American volunteer in Afghanistan in 2009. After an initial summer living and teaching inside a girls’ orphanage, I was invited to stay. I moved my life to Kabul as a permanent volunteer for four years. Toward the end of 2012 I was compelled to leave after a fatwa was...

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Epilogue: Imagining the Future

Ashraf Zahedi

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pp. 323-336

The future and sociopolitical strength of a country lies in its investment in its children. Failure to envision and implement a child-centered national policy can have serious consequences for the future of any nation and can negatively impact the physical, mental, emotional, and social development of its children...

Selected Bibliography and Filmography

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pp. 337-342

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About the Contributors

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pp. 343-352

Hangama Anwari has worked for human rights in Afghanistan since she was fifteen years old, when her father helped her type articles. After civil war forced her family from Kabul to northern Afghanistan, she graduated from university in Balkh province with a degree in law and political science...

Index

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pp. 353-374