My Last Tour: Tough Questions from Afghan Soldiers

New Afghan National Army recruits practice marching.
New Afghan National Army recruits practice marching.
TAMPA (2010-2-17) -

Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple was invited to speak to an Afghan Army literacy class. The Tampa airman came ready to answer the Afghan soldiers’ questions and ended up fielding comments like: “We know you are not here to help us, you’re here to have control in Asia.”

The start of the class was more serene. Temple asked nearly the 60 Afghan National Army soldiers “non-threatening questions” like why they joined the military and what they thought of the army.

The new recruits included a student and a farmer. Temple said that most joined the ANA for the money.

The discussion heated up when Temple agreed to take the soldiers’ questions. And the soldiers apparently had no problem peppering Temple with questions like with all of the U.S. technology, why hadn’t they captured Osama bin Laden? He didn’t mind the grilling because it gave Temple a chance to explain the United States’ point of view.

What Temple didn’t expect was the Afghans’ surprising lack of knowledge by most of about the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

“There were only three of four hands that went up and acknowledged that they understood what happened on September 11, 2001,” Temple said.

Temple has been invited back and will be in front of that Afghan Army class next week to continue their discussion.

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