Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Afghan War: Say what? In which language?

You can practically hear Juan Cole sigh as he wrote this:

Earth to the Kansas City Star: They don't speak Arabic in Afghanistan.

He was referring to this story (which has an annoying registration requirement): Army training Arabic speakers for tours in Iraq, Afghanistan Kansas City Star 04/25/05.  The story is actually from the Knight-Ridder service; I'm guessing Cole was griping more about the headline-writer, although the article itself by Chuck Crumbo also seems in one place to imply that Arabic is spoken in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

About half of Afghanistan speaks the Dari dialect of Persian/Farsi.  Pashto is the next-most-spoken language. The less-spoken languages include Baluchi, Western Dardic and the Turkic languages Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Uzbek.  Pashto and Dari are the country's official languages.

I suppose we should be glad to see newspapers running articles about Afghanistan at all.  Because the American press generally is doing a poor job of reporting on that situation.


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ibspiccoli4life said...

Afghanistan?  Do we still have troops over there? I thought we already brought them democracy and freedom and stuff.

Really, are Americans supposed to know what languages all these savages speak?  Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan...it's all the same, right?

Bruce, you are so right about the American press. They've done a horrible job reporting on Afghanistan.



purcellneil said...


You and Dave need to check into a network called FOX. I am sure they know what languages are spoken in Afghanistan.

By the way, have you any idea what language Bush is proficient in?