- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 17, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Bush said yesterday that American children have raised $4.5 million to help the youth of Afghanistan in the five months since he asked each youngster to earn $1 and send it to the White House.
"America's children have been extremely generous in helping the children of Afghanistan," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address. He said much of the money is used for school supplies, such as pencils, notebooks, crayons and soccer balls.
When the Afghan school year begins this month, many women and girls will enter a classroom for the first time, he said.
"This will be a remarkable moment in the history of Afghanistan," Mr. Bush said. "Under the new government of a liberated Afghanistan, educating all children is a national priority. And America, along with its coalition partners, is actively helping in that effort."
Afghanistan's education system has been suffering since the Soviet invasion in the early 1980s, and it nearly ceased functioning altogether in the mid-1990s under Taliban rule.
The Taliban forbade girls under age 9 to attend school, and boys' schooling often was limited to Islamic teachings.
The nation's new curriculum is temporary but includes such subjects as math, science, Islamic studies, friendship and an awareness of land mines, said Nazar Muhammad Karyab, adviser to the Afghan Education Ministry.
Since the war in Afghanistan began, the United States has sent more than 4 million textbooks written in the Afghan languages of Pashto and Dari.
By the end of this year, the United States will have sent almost 10 million textbooks to Afghan children, Mr. Bush said. "These textbooks will teach tolerance and respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry," he said.
Mr. Bush said working for a better educated Afghanistan will provide youngsters with "an alternative to bitterness, resentment and hatred."


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