A proposed new handbook for Americans serving in Afghanistan warns them not to speak ill about the Taliban, advocate women’s rights or criticize pedophilia, and the general in charge is not happy with it. The draft of the newest Army handbook seems to suggest that ignorance of Afghan culture is to blame for deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces, according to The Wall Street Journal, which got a peek at the 75-page document. But its message of walking on eggshells around the locals is not going over well with U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan.
But a claim by their own government that they’re to blame is not likely to buoy the spirits of Americans risking their lives to serve. "Many of the confrontations occur because of [coalition] ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction from the [Afghan security force] member," the Journal quotes the draft handbook as saying.The draft handbook offers a list of "taboo conversation topics" that soldiers should avoid, including "making derogatory comments about the Taliban," "advocating women's rights," "any criticism of pedophilia," "directing any criticism toward Afghans," "mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct" or "anything related to Islam," according to the Journal.