(West Point, New York) With the Taliban no longer in power, Afghan citizens are now able to make decisions for themselves. Consequently, one 20-year-old Pashto speaker was able to complete an arduous application process to become the first Afghan national to attend the U.S. Military Academy. He reports for duty June 27.
From the Army News Service:
Shoaib Yosoufzai, one of 21 international cadets accepted as a member of the Class of 2009, comes from Laghman providence in Eastern Afghanistan.
Yosoufzai spent two years at Kabul University learning civil engineering. Continuing in the engineering field and gaining a strong military background are two of the reasons he wanted to come to West Point.
"I wanted a military career and the U.S. Military Academy has a very good educational system that helps with your leadership skills," Yosoufzai said. "They have a good engineering program and I would like to help my people in every field that I major in here."
He started the process about a year-and-a-half ago as one of more than 60 people applying from universities and high schools throughout Afghanistan.
The academic dean at the nascent National Military Academy of Afghanistan is Shoaib's father, Hamdullah Yosoufzai, who provided encouragement.
Yosoufzai's attendance at West Point is part of a long-running international program designed to spread American goodwill and knowledge to all parts of the globe. Previous graduates of West Point include former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza ('46), former Philippine President Fidel Ramos ('50), former Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres ('79), and a son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Hun Manet ('99). Obviously, the lessons on democracy and freedom produce mixed results for some international students.
Nevertheless, the fact that a student from Afghanistan is due to join the cadet corps is uplifting.
Companion post at Interested-Participant.