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Victoria Schofield
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Letter from Bamian

2 Sept 2008. www.standpointmag.co.uk

Excerpt:

Excuse me,' says a young man in Bamian's one and only high street, ‘may I practise my English with you?' Anywhere else in the world, this approach could be brushed aside as a poor attempt at a social interaction, but this is Afghanistan and the young man is in earnest. ‘Our teacher has emphasised that when we see a foreigner we must try to practise our English.'  As I indicate my willingness to linger in the street, he is immediately joined by several others.  The impromptu English class turns into a discussion about their life in Bamian, located 140 miles north-west of Kabul in a valley once traversed by Alexander's armies in the 4th century BC, and devastated by Genghis Khan in the 13th century.
           

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