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Newsletter 10-64
September 2010

Foreword

U.S. Army personnel serving in Afghanistan have numerous opportunities to interact with the Afghan people (called Afghans) who are the product of a multiplicity of diverse cultures. Afghan values, beliefs, behaviors, customs, and norms have been shaped by Afghanistan’s rugged environment and geography; history of conflict; non-standard Islamic beliefs; tribal ethnicity; external and internal politics; and education. Soldiers will definitely find their culture different from that of the Afghans.

Soldiers, during their initial entry training, receive U.S. cultural training that includes the seven Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Afghans have the same seven values. Where the U.S. applies these seven values toward its own country and constitution, the Afghans apply them to their tribe, sub-tribe, or village, of which there are many throughout Afghanistan.

This newsletter provides information on the basics of the Afghan culture and how Soldiers should apply this information while living and working with the Afghans. The key points covered in this newsletter are:

  • Effects of Afghan culture on counterinsurgency operations.
  • Means of acquiring an awareness of the Afghan culture.
  • Components that shape the diverse Afghan culture.
  • Sources for training on the Afghan culture.
  • Background on the Taliban.
  • Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Afghanistan/Pakistan languages DVD.

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