News Columns & Blogs

Why education matters in Afghanistan, Pakistan

"These are secular schools that will bring a new generation of kids that will have a broader view of the world," Greg Mortenson, author of the best-seller "Three Cups of Tea," told columnist Thomas Friedman about the schools for girls that he has built in Pakistan and Afghanistan villages. Friedman and Adm. Mike Mullen, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently attended the opening of Mortenson's newest school in a remote Afghan village. Mortenson said religious extremism flourishes in areas of isolation and conflict where there is little education. That's why, Friedman wrote, "since 2007, the Taliban and its allies have bombed, burned or shut down more than 640 schools in Afghanistan and 350 schools in Pakistan, of which about 80 percent are schools for girls."