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Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan$
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Dana Burde

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169288

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169288.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan

Dana Burde

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this study which is premised on reframing the importance of education in state-building and peace-building efforts in Afghanistan. Despite the language barrier, religion permeates every aspect of Afghan society, which is evident in how the comprehension of the Qur'an became an imperative religious expression. Typically, the most literate and only educated person in Afghan villages is the mullah, who has the ill-reputation of monopolizing education through mosque schools. This monopoly would mean power, respect, a modest income, and a relatively comfortable lifestyle. For this reason, education has often been central in the power struggles in Afghanistan. These domestic power struggles, which later on included increased militancy and violence, gained international attention since the September 11 attacks of al-Qaeda. Since then, the United States has intervened in the tensions in Afghanistan through aid to education.

Keywords:   education, state-building, peace-building, Afghanistan, Qur'an, mullah, militancy, al-Qaeda, September 11 attacks, United States

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