Comments: 593 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Skizophrenic104 karma

What's the most negative memory that still haunts you every day?..

quruti395 karma

Running up the hill (Karteh Parwan) to my Uncle's house. My mother was dragging me by the arm and she she held my two year old brother who was crying.

I heard the whistles of rockets and saw our shadows thrown against the dirt of the hill whenever they hit.

I thought they were fireworks. For a four year old, I'd only ever associated the noises and the lights with New Year's (Nowe Roz) festivities and I so very badly wanted to turn around.

My mother finally stopped jerking on my arm to adjust my brother who was screaming and fidgeting and I got my chance.

But all I saw as fire. No buildings, no hills nothing but red and yellow and orange blazes. It felt like we and the hill were the only things not on fire. I had never been afraid before, but could never shake it since.

Marylandman10121 karma

who was shooting at you, and why?

quruti84 karma

They weren't shooting at us, the communist Afghan government backed by the Soviets were fighting the few remaining pro-monarchy resistance in Kabul. We were just caught in the cross fire.

FakePlasticShrimp11 karma

Didn't you feel the force of them hitting the hill vibrate the ground?

I thought that, rather than the fires being bright the bangs would be really ear-drum popping loud and that you'd feel the force of each rocket through the ground and vibrate through your chest...

I only think this because reading about ww1 some guy describes the trench warfare as being strapped to a board when a huge guy with a sledge hammer runs towards you and swings it to your head with all his might, missing by inches... This happening constantly is why so many were shellshocked.

Or maybe you were running from phosphorous?

quruti76 karma

From what I remember the bombings weren't directed at the hill but below us. From what I remember the police academy and the grain silo are near the foot of hill so they may have been the targets. Also, you have to remember that it was late at night and I was only four so my impression of events will skew to the fantastic rather than the realistic. If everything was on fire as I had imagined it, the Intercontinental hotel, which is still standing, would have been demolished.

But, there definitely was that whistle of rockets and explosions below us because I remembered the whistle from fireworks and the explosion would suddenly throw our shadows in high relief in front of us. I may have felt something, but between running and having my mother jerk my arm as she dragged me, it's not something that made an impression on me.

AChoc82 karma

Would you move back to Afghanistan if the violence stopped?

Thanks for doing this!

quruti276 karma

No, never. It would be impossible for me to assimilate into the society there, I would always be a part of the expatriate community, never fully integrated. There is too much disconnect between those who left and those we left behind, a sense of guilt on one side, a sense of accusation and neglect from the other. My friends who have gone back only really ever socialize with other people also from the States or Europe, never with the locals.

The most common question is, "Do you love Afghanistan?"

The only acceptable answer is "Yes."

Which in turn leads to an accusatory "If you love it why didn't/don't you stay?"

I can only take such condemnation in small doses.

Ocramzeej6663 karma

What is your favorite memory of Afghanistan as a child?

quruti157 karma

Eating. Pretty much all my happy memories involved food.

I used to open the drawers to climb them so I could reach the cupboards that held the 'Qurut.' Then I would smuggle them out in my cheeks. It was the first memory of taste I have.

Also, I taught my little brother how to eat our afternoon cookies around the edges so they would last longer. I remember sitting in front of the window and showing him how to nibble around the edges and sipping our condensed milk in between starting another round. You'd think I'd invented the wheel I was so proud.

Another was when we were driving back from Jalalabad and my cousins and I were in the back of the station wagon with the fish we'd bought and we were trying to pop out the eyes... we were pretty disgusting but it was fun.

FuckingDIY26 karma

Do you remember any games that were unique to your time in Afghanistan? Did you guys fly kites?

quruti98 karma

I don't know about unique to Afghanistan, probably same just games any kids play in countries with few resources.

I remember hopscotch and pretending to cook with my one female cousin that was my age. It's a bit telling that our primarily form of entertainment as girls was aimed at domestic pursuits.

My male cousins would roll down the hill in an old tire. But they wouldn't let me play because I was too little and couldn't brace myself properly so that I could not prevent myself from being launched out when the tire'd inevitably hit something. I remember crying inconsolably about this.

I don't remember flying kites, it was a boy activity and my cousins would never play with me unless they were made to so I would go around trying to pretend to cook rice...

Wow my cousins really really sucked.

Priapulid31 karma

From my time in Afghanistan (US military) I came to the conclusion that the national sport should be volley ball (of all things). All the locals that I worked with were insanely good at it.

There are many beautiful places in Afghanistan and I met some amazingly friendly people there, it is sad the state that it is in. Good to hear you made it out.

quruti41 karma

Yes! I was surprised about the volleyball too. The girls school (Zarghuna in Shahre-e-Naw) had a brand new net and got donations for uniforms. We didn't see them play, but the fact they had sports in a girls school and enough enthusiasm for an actual team was really inspiring.

Stromovik59 karma

So who was worse Amin , Northern Alliance , Taliban , or the administartion during 1979-1989 ? What region are you from ?

quruti147 karma

Well, my father was jailed under Amin... my cousin died under the NA and my uncle under the Taliban... so all in their own special way were worse than the other. No one in my family died or was thrown in prison under Najibullah so that makes him okay in my book.

In terms of what they did for the nation, I've heard nothing but good things from my cousins who live in Afghanistan about Najibullah. Though, they were also heavily indoctrinated, one cannot deny that for the first and last time, Afghanistan had positive economic growth under his reign.

I'm from Kabul but my Grandparents were from Kandahar via Ghor and Shiberghan.

FungalFuckFace20 karma

May I ask how your cousin died under the NA? Under what circumstances? Just to make it clear I am a Tajik Afghan and my entire family and extended family (father, uncles, cousins etc) were part of the Afghan resistance against the soviets and later on fought against the Taliban too (as part of the NA).

quruti26 karma

Civil war collateral damage. She was in the house when a rocket fell on it in one of the back and forth bombings after 1992.

--ATG--12 karma

I'm also from Kabul, Afghanistan, but left around 1992 when i was 2 years old. Some of my family was from Istalif which im reminded daily of how amazing it was lol.

I wasn't born at the time, but my father was also jailed and im guessing under Amin too because he was aiding one side. His cousin had written his name and some other peoples name on a piece of paper and accidentally left it when he left for United States. They found the paper/list of names and jailed/tortured everyone on that list.

Well its cool to meet a fellow Afghan redditor!

quruti20 karma

I visited Istalif recently, it really is as beautiful as your family says it is.

When we went there in 2002 it was still pretty devastated because the Taliban had burnt down the vineyards, chopped down the trees and burnt the villages.

We drove through the ancient Greek pillars that marked the start of the town. Since most homes in Afghanistan are made out of baked clay only the roofs were burnt when the Taliban tried the raze the town. So we drove by all these empty shells. Then... inexplicably, amid all this emptiness there was a fruit seller. Just sitting there with a table of fruit in the middle of nowhere. We stopped and bought some fruit. Our driver was a smart alec and asked him how business was, this man, who likely hadn't made a sale in days looked him dead in the eye and told me it was booming until we drove off his regulars... that right there was the quintessential Afghan pride.

OCC11251 karma


Shuma az kudam jay e Afghanistan hasten?

quruti37 karma

W'alaikum. As Kabul hastam ama fameelem as Ghorband hast.

OCC11223 karma

Shuma aalee da kuja zindagi me konen?

quruti18 karma

Aleh dar Shahmale California zindagi mekonum.

Dallas34329 karma


Saidzia39 karma

"Hey, what part of Afghanistan are you from?" OCC112 "Hi, from Kabul but my family is from Ghorband." quruti "Where do you live now?" OCC112

CurtisLeow12 karma

What language is it though? Google Translate says Basque, Filipino, Swahili, and Basque again.

thenation724 karma

It's Dari, but it's being typed out using English letters so it won't register as anything in google translate.

thet5215 karma

Ah so kind of like Romanji (Japense typed out with "Enlgish letters)

quruti30 karma

We call it Finglish. Farsi-English.

your_inner_monologue40 karma

How old were you when you left Afghanistan?

quruti59 karma

Just a few months shy of 5.

samvsworld39 karma

Why do Afghans and Iranis hate each other?

quruti85 karma

History, the Iranian Ashfarid's kept trying to take Afghanistan and we kept throwing them off.

As a result of refusing to be 'civilized' by the last colonial Iranian dynasty, Iranian's think Afghan's come from 'pushte koh' (Behind the mountain, aka hicks) and call our bread 'naan-e-barbari' (Bread of the barbarians) and Afghans resent the hell out of that.

Afghans on the other hand think Iranians are European wannabes who sold out the language with phrases like 'Merci' and generally mispronouncing everything. Iranian's claim they can't understand Afghan Farsi when we can understand them fine, which proves we're smarter. ;)

samvsworld35 karma

Actually my background is Iranian but born in Canada. Just curious as to what you would say :)

There are a lot of Afghans in Toronto now and I always get a negative vibe when they find out I'm Iranian. One guy got pretty aggressive with me for something stupid. I don't get it...maybe because I was born here.. but still I'm pretty loving and easy going so it bugs me.

quruti45 karma

Well, Afghan refugees aren't treated well in Iran. That could be it.

Of course that has nothing to do with you so this guy was just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

vbp6us8 karma

I think you might be on to something but it's definitely not the only answer. To your point, I think there is a sense of superiority by Iranians who look at Afghans as the second class citizens in their own country doing odd jobs like construction, cleaning, or laborious jobs.

Afghans resent this of course. But Samvsworld, I have to say it does suck that you get that negative attention because you're Iranian. I think something that's really clear to me is that they don't get aggressive with you because you were born in Canada though.

quruti9 karma

While that would explain the Iranians in Iran right now, I get that they might not like all these Afghans suddenly on their doorstep. The Los Angeles Iranians that left in the 70's have no such excuses... calling my bread barbaric... I'll show them barbaric.

nxf09100020 karma

As an Iranian who was born and raised in Iran , I can understand you just fine

quruti15 karma

I suspected as much, I think my 2nd generation Iranian friends are either messing with me or are used to only listening to one version of Farsi.


What's your favorite way to eat eggs?

quruti98 karma

Karahi. Which to Afghans means fried, with sliced tomatoes, onions, pepper and salt. It's best eaten with Afghan bread used a scoop instead of with utensils.

Uberche11 karma

Is it like scrambled eggs with all that mixed in? Love trying new recipes, did a quick recipe search but it seems there's a lot of differing views on what it is exactly, most seem to "westernized" versions of it.

quruti54 karma

Yes, exactly like scrambled eggs with stuff mixed in.

The recipe is not called Karahi, it's called Khagina but we don't call it that in my family and now I'm a bit miffed.

Here's the recipe from this awesome book I use 'Noshe Djan'

Ingredients 6 eggs

2 medium (8 oz) tomatoes, chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and finely chopped

1 - 2 green chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1 tbs flour

vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Beat the eggs. Mix together the chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro (reserve a little for garnishing) and chili in a bowl. Stir in the flour and add the beaten eggs. Mix well.

Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat. When hot pour over the egg mixture, then turn down the heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggs are set. Turn over carefully as described and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the reserved chopped cilantro and serve with nan and perhaps a bowl of yogurt.

** I don't use chili or cilantro, I add a bit of dried mint over it.

Uberche9 karma

So the eggs become solid like an omelette or are you stirring them periodically while cooking to break it all up?

Thanks! Will try it for supper tonight or breakfast tomorrow!!

quruti16 karma

You break up the eggs by stirring constantly. I like my eggs a bit over cooked, but older Afghans prefer it a bit runny. Then it's easier to get on your bread.

Banh_mi10 karma

There is a similar dish fro the Henan region of China. They do add a touch of sugar. Just served as-is or sometimes in a soup w/vegetable broth. Damn, can't remember the name, but so good.

quruti16 karma

A lot of our pasta dishes would likely have originated in China, though I think we use a lot of yogurt which I think is very Central Asian.

nocturnalhamster5 karma

tukhum e banjanrumi!!! yum

quruti8 karma

Yes, IDK why my family calls it karahi but I have never heard kagani which is what it seems to 'officially' be called.

ljuvlig22 karma

Which do you most admire about Afgan culture? What do you least admire?

quruti78 karma

I admire our food. I'm totally biased of course, but we do food really really well, like as jacked up as we manage to make of our government and our lives in general, that's the inverse of how good we make our food.

Sometimes I'm like, "Why does everyone keep invading?!?!" it's not the barren mountainous land. Certainly not the people, so docile and pleasant. It's got to be the damn food.

What I admire least is our incredible ability to divide ourselves into ever smaller opposing units. Shia vs. Sunni. Tajik vs Pashtoon vs. Hazara vs Uzbek vs... whatever. Kabuli vs. Kandari. Farsi speakers vs. Pashto speakers... then it get's down to the ridiculous level... if you're from Kabul, it's down to the district, then it's down to the street. We will never have a sense of unity and nationality if we keep doing this, and from what I can see, it's not something that is likely to end any time soon.

thet526 karma

About what you said with the barren mountainous land I always thought Afghanistan had a very good agriculture and was quite flourishing until the Soviets invaded.

quruti27 karma

The northern part that are near the Amu Darya river are very fertile, those are flat low lands that get much of the rich mountain run-off. They are still intact for the most part but Kabul is in further in the Hindu Kush and my ancestors in their infinite wisdom decided to settle at an elevation of 5,869' (1,789 m) which isn't conducive to agriculture.

The Shomali plain just north of Kabul was only ever fertile because of pre-historic irrigation system. The irrigation system was destroyed by the Taliban but the Soviets left it intact.

There are pockets of fertile areas at the foothills like this, but they few and far between.

Cannibalzz20 karma

Can you provide some proof?

quruti22 karma

I have documents but they are in Pashto and Dari and only have a picture of me when I was four which doesn't look anything like I do now. Any suggestions on what would suffice?

Tho7620 karma

Have you read the Kite Runner? How accurate is it?

quruti39 karma

Yes, I have read the book. I think it's fairly accurate, especially the part about being here in the States, flea markets and loving Reagan. My male cousins would regale me with stories of kite flying and generally running around Kabul as kids so that part is fairly accurate as well. My parents and aunts have pictures of epic parties with Ahmad Zahir (singer also in the book) and fancy dresses, so that scene if fairly accurate.

I also went to visit an orphanage in Afghanistan in 2002 (Alladin orphanage on Durlaman road) and from what the director told me some of the more lurid aspects of the book are sadly accurate as well.

Dangthesehavetobesma14 karma

You may have just helped me get a better grade on a project for that book in my English class. Very interesting to know!

quruti28 karma

Awesome! Anything to help justify being on Reddit!

Marylandman10110 karma

why did you all love Reagan?(not a political question just curious)

quruti24 karma

Well from what I remember, it wasn't until Reagan/Republicans that it became public knowledge that the US was funding the Mujahideen and that Afghans gained refugee/asylum status in the United States. Reagan hated the communists as much as the early wave of Afghan refugees did and he was able to do something about it.

Josh-dara3 karma

Have you also read A Thousand Splendid Suns? It is by the same author and it takes place in the same time frame.

quruti3 karma

No, I could only take one heart wrenching book at a time in a lot of ways Kite Runner hit a bit too close to home, I couldn't take another hit.

acealex12318 karma

Since my dad is a veteran of that war, I would like to know what is was like. You know, how was waking up everyday? What was going through your head? Who did you support, if anyone. I don't know if it's PTSD, but my dad really never talks about the war from his point of view (He was a Russian paratrooper).

quruti22 karma

I only remember one night of heavy bombings, there were tanks and soldiers in the streets but our lives did not change that much early on.

We went to school and did everything we normally did, just with more caution. My parents were always home before curfew, our kindergarten class would have drill and we didn't go outside to play as much.

There were also stories of Soviets booby trapping toys (I remember b/c I refused to touch my dolls) and my cousins would try to scare me by telling my father would be thrown in jail so I was generally pretty terrified.

My family supported no one really, the ones who left in the 1980's though became staunch anti-communists though the ones who stayed until 1997 became pro-communist.

We left in 1980 though before it got really bad so I'm not sure my experience accurately reflects what happened after the Mujahideen were armed.

ShotCoplifting17 karma


quruti54 karma

I don't know about people in general but I can give you two perspectives, my father's and my uncle's.

My Father worked for the ministry and was educated in Germany. So basically his take was: "This happens all the time, we'll just go to my mother's house in Ghor and sit it out... "

In a way, he was right but he didn't take into account that the Soviets/USA would eventually get involved. There was a coup every generation since my great grandfather's time, all people ever did was go to the countryside.

My father represents the vast majority of people. There wasn't any further intellectual analysis of what was going on, they just wanted to be safe and only thought of ways they could guarantee their family's well being.

My uncle was educated in communist Czechoslovakia, he was part of the growing middle class. Our family had worked for the monarchy in some capacity or another for generations. We'd been both exploited by the Monarchy and in turn benefited from other people's exploitation, namely the re-allocation of land from people the monarchy disfavored.

He was the primary person who would go between our family in Kabul and our lands in the south and would speak to the 'dakon' the farmers who worked our lands. He knew better than the rest of our family how truly poor people outside of Kabul were.

His take was basically the same of anyone who wanted and felt justified in wanting immediate change. He was hell bent on going out and fighting during the Saur revolution... finally he could help bring equality to the people so used by the "Khan's" for generations.

His view and his educational background represents almost all the people that participated in the Revolution. In a way, the revolutionists were our very best, the young, the idealists, the ones that were educated, the ones who saw the inequality of Afghanistan and tried to do something about it, but in such a very wrong way.

Both were wrong about the Revolution though, whatever hope there was at the time dissolved when the Soviets and then the US got involved. It became so much bigger and more horrible than anyone had anticipated. The people who left to go to the countryside were not safe from Soviet aircraft, the revolutionists did not anticipate taking on the very people they thought to liberate.

IamStarB15 karma


quruti24 karma

We fled to Italy or were supposed to because that was the only place that gave my mother a visa. However, she decided she wanted to stay in Germany because she had lived there for 10 years and already spoke the language so we became refugees in Hamburg.

F1Yafghan15 karma

What was it like living in Germany and did you later move somewhere else?

quruti136 karma

I loved living in Germany, I think it was a combination of being so traumatized right before we got there and the relief my mother felt at being in a familiar environment coupled by the child-friendly atmosphere of Northern Germany.

One of my fondest childhood memories occurred shortly after we arrived in Hamburg. To give some context, we only brought a few pieces of luggage and my mother could not have anticipated that we would outgrow our winter coats, boots and mittens from Afghanistan, so we were unprepared for the German winter.

In Northern Germany, the Christmas tradition is for kids to leave their boots outside their rooms or homes and they would be filled with candy and small toys. Even if we had been aware of this tradition, we were Muslim and didn't celebrate Christmas.

Christmas morning we woke up to find four pairs of boots outside our door filled with toys, candy, two sweaters and parkas for both of us. Despite the fact we weren't Christians, our German neighbors made sure we had what we needed.

Up until then, I don't remember ever feeling so elated, amazed and grateful in all my young life. My brother and I put on all our cloths, put the extra pairs of boots on our hands and danced around our little apartment.

LigerZer02 karma

That is beautiful.

This post has inspired me to start keeping a journal full of posts like these to read during times when I need an oxytocin boost.

May I ask what year and city this was in?

Thank you for sharing.

quruti4 karma

Hamburg, 1980. :-)

morbidgoldfish14 karma


quruti21 karma

I think the attitude towards Afghans has gotten better. People have become more aware of why we are here, that we really HAVE to be here to survive and that there's no going back. There are still pockets of ignorance but it's less justified now that America has it's foot on the ground in Afghanistan so I feel vindicated in pointing out that their ignorance is unpatriotic.

My favorite food is Qitchiri Qurut. It is not served in restaurants, it sounds funny and looks odd but rice, meat balls, oil and yogurt sauce is pretty much my idea of heaven.

j187sd5 karma

I'm curious now that you mentioned kitchri lol but are you herati or farahi?

quruti4 karma

Neither, but my mom's family is from a place between Herat and Maymana in the North.

Osiris_S1314 karma

Can you explain what it was like when the invasion was actually happening? Were there tanks rolling down the street or was it more gradual than that?

quruti54 karma

I don't remember the invasion itself, but I do remember tanks in the streets and soldiers going door to door sometimes. Just a general sense of fear.

My mother remembers the invasion with more clarity though because that's when my brother decided it was an opportune time to be born. And, to make matters worse, little brother decides to make it as difficult on her as possible by being breach. Since there were aircraft dropping bombs, tanks in the streets and gunfire all around, no cabs were available. Instead, my parents went trudging through the streets, being stopped by various soldiers who looked at them bewildered but who did not stop them because even soldiers don't want to have to deliver a baby in the middle of an invasion. They eventually found a car that would take them around the tanks and my brother was born despite the bombings, tanks and gunfire.

FuckingDIY12 karma

Do you have any photos from Afghanistan that you would be willing to share?

Maybe you could link to your Mom's schools in case people want to donate?

quruti16 karma

Yes, as soon as I get home I'm going to scan the photo we took at the airport about a month before we left Afghanistan for the last time.

I've posted a link as per your suggestion, I felt a bit leery of posting a link before.

quruti3 karma

I could not find the photo I was looking for of me and my cousins at the Kabul Airport and I have very few photographs that show the city. Here is one that shows the city in the background from Karteh Parwan. And here is another of just my family in our backyard.

I'm going to dig through so more albums and hopefully find one where we are in an easily identifiable Kabul location.

Intellectual_Madman10 karma

Where do you currently live?

quruti18 karma


ctowntown11 karma

Any Afghan restaurants in CA that you recommend? All your talk of food is intriguing!

quruti26 karma

Dey Afghanan in Fremont is my absolute favorite.

There are other places but look at the menu first. If they serve things like Shrimp or Tuna it's not authentic, Afghanistan is a land locked country and my grandmother would be appalled.

andrewphf5 karma

I've been there! It's really good. I'm from Pleasanton and my family likes to eat out at a lot of different world food restaurants. This one is one of my favorites.

quruti6 karma

Small world. Have you eaten at Oasis on Main? I can no longer show my face there because my cousin told the Afghan owner that the food was "Good, but not for Afghans." I was mortified and haven't eaten there in 3 years.

F1Yafghan10 karma

Is it true men were kidnapped off the streets to fight?

quruti15 karma

Well, they were conscripted at age 18. This was the policy even before the war, every male served two years in the army. I don't think they were kidnapped but I can see that they could have been jailed if they refused the mandatory military service.

At least all my male cousins are accounted for and either served or fled to Pakistan until they got past the age of conscription.

SerCiddy9 karma

Between then and now, what kinds of changes have you, or your mom seen in the way people act and think. I'm coming from the 60's Afghanistan thread. So I'm trying to figure out the progression of Afghanistan from then until now.

My dad (who is mexican, and in no way related to anyone from the middle east) has painted a kind of picture for me of how Afghanistan was from the 80's and on, and I'm just curious of what it was actually actually like.

quruti26 karma

The language and culture now reflect the influence of Iran and Pakistan a lot more because that is where people fled. Now you can hear Farsi with an Iranian accent, Pashto with an Urdu accent etc. Homes reflect the three-story pastel Pakistani style rather than the high-walled adobe colored native Afghan style.

There never was law and order in Afghanistan, the Government never really had power outside of Kabul and it was never interested in enforcing it unless it was to it's own benefit. It used to be that law and order were kept simply because everyone knew each other. It was a functional anarchy facilitated by familiarity and gossip. Strangers were rare and kept under a watchful eye. Girls who would go out on their own had the whole neighborhood watching out and they generally went unharassed because if a guy dared say anything, the girl would literally tell your mom and you'd get chewed out, often in front of the whole neighborhood.

Once the war started, it all broke down. People left, others moved in. No one knew each other, everyone was suspicious and kept to themselves. It was easier to commit crimes because the self-regulating social structure was gone and life became more dangerous for the average person.

So here is where we stand now, there is no going back to the functional anarchy that worked for our fathers and grand fathers, but there is no structure or mechanism to enforce the law and order of a modern society.

I hope that answers your question, I realize I was a bit all over the place talking about language, house styles and then government.

edgegripsubz9 karma

I might bet you can speak Pashtun fluently but do you also speak a little bit of Russian by any chance?

quruti12 karma

I actually speak Dari (Afghan Farsi) the only members of my family who speak Pashto learned from school and then it's not Kandari pashto but Jalalabadi pakhto.

FuzzyBlumpkinz7 karma

Do your parents miss living in Afghanistan? Do you think that they would consider returning if stability were to come?

Would you go back?

quruti30 karma

My parents miss their Afghanistan. That Afghanistan does not exist any more.

When my mother went back in 2002, it was for the first time since 1989, she said she might as well have gone to Africa for how much she recognized the place and the people.

My father has become too American in his expectations for fare well in Afghanistan, when he went back he was constantly angry at people. For being late. For always drinking tea. For a thousand little annoyances that would not have mattered if he had not gotten used to the American work ethic. My father would likely go back if he could retire to the family farm and never have to deal with anyone from the city, but given his health problems it's not very likely.

As for myself:

No, never. It would be impossible for me to assimilate into the society there, I would always be a part of the ex-Patriot community, never fully integrated. There is too much disconnect between those who left and those we left behind, a sense of guilt on one side, a sense of accusation and neglect from the other. My friends who have gone back only really ever socialize with other people also from the States or Europe, never with the locals.

The most common question is, "Do you love Afghanistan?"

The only acceptable answer is "Yes."

Which in turn leads to an accusatory "If you love it why didn't/don't you stay?"

I can only take such condemnation in small doses.

ac130-specter6 karma

How badly has the invasion effected your parents?

quruti18 karma

My father was jailed briefly because he was considered a pro-Monarchist by the communist regime that came into power.

Of course they lost their home, their savings etc, but those are nothing compared to the people they lost. My father and mother would not see their family again for almost 23 years. During this time, my father lost his mother, sister, his niece and his nephew while my mother lost her brother.

Psychologically, the idea that they had to start over and work in menial jobs when before they had been well paid and well respected engineers was demoralizing, but like many immigrants they managed for their kid's sake.

Larry_Flintwagon6 karma

I spent a year in the Hindu Kush. Your country is beautiful.

quruti11 karma

It is, I didn't realize it when I was a kid and growing up, I was pissed off my ancestors decided to live in such an unforgiving environment but when I went back in 2002 I was in awe of the mountains.

abnmfr6 karma

What are your thoughts on the efforts of troops in Afghanistan to provide security for Karzai's government and build/improve infrastructure?

As an American soldier, we get told what we accomplished, but I often wonder what it looks like from the other direction.

quruti8 karma

I'm really torn about this, on a purely personal level the efforts of the troops have been immeasurable.

I would never have had a chance to go back to Afghanistan in 2002 if our troops weren't there. I would never have gotten to see my cousin or my aunt before they died. I would not now be able to Facebook with my cousins in Kabul and in Mazar. My female cousins would never have gone back to school or earned degrees if we hadn't taken out the Taliban. My mother would not have been able to open a women's vocational school in Kabul, a girl's school in Ghazni nor fund an entire k-12 school in Bamiyan if we weren't there.

In terms of the future of my home country, I can see the benefits of us being there as well. I would never have been able to go to the HALO camps set up to finally demine deathtraps from the 80's and 90's on the Shomali plain. My more enterprising friends would never have been able to return to Afghanistan to start small businesses and use the micro-lending to help improve things on an individual level.

That said, I do not believe the security we provide to the minorities, women and children in Afghanistan or the decrease in the global opium trade is worth the risks our troops take with their lives.

Brabberly6 karma

What's the biggest misconception of Afghan culture held by Americans?

quruti3 karma

That the worst thing to happen to the women in Afghanistan is the burqa. As if letting women wear what they want would improve the fundamental conditions of poverty, lack of education and a stagnant economy.

alexthegreat19685 karma

Are there any hope for the women in Afghanistan? Does your mother set up schools for girls?

quruti8 karma

I think there is hope. They are incredibly tough, resourceful and smart. My mother has a few schools, the one she set up in Kabul is for older women who could not go to school during the Taliban or simply never went to school for other reasons. It primarily teaches literacy and sewing. She had one in Ghazni but the teachers kept getting threats so they shut it down though the governor of the province had been very supportive.

_TheSoviet_5 karma

I so sorry for everything we did.

quruti8 karma

The Soviets did what any other country would have done to protect their own interests. I don't think the Soviets treated Afghans any worse than we treated ourselves.

you_me_fivedollars4 karma

Was John Rambo really seen as a hero in Afghanistan after the release of Rambo 3?

quruti4 karma

Yes. My friend told me there were Rambo posters all over an MMA gym in Kabul in 2002.

jablome4 karma

What could the Soviet Union have done differently to sell the invasion better like the US?

quruti3 karma

They should have waited. The Mujahideen didn't have momentum until there was an invasion from the outside.

I said on an earlier question that there was a coup every generation. In Afghanistan a stable government meant one that changed violently every thirty years. This was expected, this was the norm.

But then, you have an actual outside force, any Afghan worth their salt would fight this, for their own pride!

They should have done what the British did when they wanted to depose Ammanullah Khan, start a smear campaign discrediting the leaders of the Mujahideen. Or they could have gone with another tactic when they wanted to install the UK educated Nader Shah over Kalkani by providing local troops from across the border. After all, troops from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan had helped install Abdur Rahman Khan in the 1880's, they were just as capable of taking out his descendants.

Tito_Capotito3 karma

My current employer, owner of a rug store, was also a refugee from Afghanistan during the soviet invasion. He has told me many interesting stories, most of them of how he got to America. He first arrived to New York where he said life was rural and people would discriminate him. He eventually worked his way up and now he owns a rug store (for 30 years now) in my current hometown of Monterey, CA. Any adventures/interesting stories of coming to America and adapting to new culture/society?

quruti6 karma

This is partially stream of consciousness as I remember it, so bear with me.

My parents had prepared me for America. We had practiced saying 'Hello' and 'Please' and 'Thank you.' We had learned about baseball. We learned that football was soccer now and that this new football did not involve the foot seemingly at all. I was going to start first grade, a well prepared almost-American.

I made it through the first half. Standing up, facing a flag, oh right, hand on heart, odd but I was prepared for this.

Then lunch, the kids were excited. Apparently it was Sloppy Joe day. I did not know this 'Sloppy Joe' but it sounded very American and pleased to eat my first American food. Little did I now the disaster that would befall me.

Oh, it looks like a juicy burger! Yum! I've had those before.



My face. My brand new American bought T shirt. A smeared brown orange mess.

WAS THIS A JOKE?! Did they just do this to the new kid?!

No, all the other kids are trying to squish the meat back into the bread, half of it smeared across their mouths and fingers.

These people are ANIMALS?!?! These were the vaunted AMERICANS?!? Too lazy to actually make the damn patty BEFORE they cooked it?!?

I would never be one of these people. Their food even hated me.

So there I was, hot greasy ground beef all over my new shirt, sobbing into my empty greasy what-should-have-been-a-hamburger bun feeling forlorn and rejected by food.

To this day, I consider Sloppy Joe's the lazy asshole's hamburger.

Portmanero2 karma

Have you traveled back since you left in 1980?

quruti6 karma

Yes, I went back in 2002 and a few times since, though the 2002 trip was the longest and since it was my first trip there, the most memorable.

thewebsiteisdown-1 karma

If you had to pick, which would you rather fight: 1 horse sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses? Why?

quruti18 karma

One horse sized duck. I am terrified of horses and am a discredit to my people.