...I offer a small example of what Afghans have learned to endure. I was with a platoon of mujahedeen escorting 1,000 refugees into Pakistan in 1980. We had to cross a mountain torrent on a bridge consisting of two rain-slick logs laid side by side. In front of me was a 10-year-old boy, separated from his family, hobbling on feet slashed to ribbons from five days of barefoot marching. Realizing that he would probably fall into the rapids below, I carried him to the other side; then, with my interpreter's help, I found his father and handed him over. The father slapped the boy in the face and poked me in the chest, shouting angrily. Naturally, I was shocked. "He's angry with the boy for not crossing on his own, and angry with you for helping him," the interpreter explained. "Now, he says, his son will expect some stranger to help him whenever he runs into difficulties..."
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