Washington, Sept 29: A new Afghan army-issued guide apparently explains to soldiers in the country that if their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, ‘it is likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge.’
The news pamphlet is intended to “strengthen our understanding of our [NATO] counterpart,” according to the English translation of the 18-page pamphlet, officially titled “Cultural Understanding – A Guide to Understanding Coalition Cultures.’
In doing so, the pamphlet also reveals, a rarely acknowledged, cultural faux pas that has created palpable tension between the two forces, The Washington Post reports.
“Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you,” the guide instructs.
“When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind. They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you’ve done. Once again, they don’t mean to offend you,” it added.
Another tip in the pamphlet said ‘when someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don’t know or have forgotten the Afghan custom.’
According to the paper, the guide also warned Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their private parts while showering, all inappropriate actions by Afghan standards.
The guide has been published as even after 11 years into the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural awareness, which according to some officials, contribute to a string of insider attacks that have threatened to undermine the military partnership. (ANI)