From Terry Glavin’s book Come from the Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan, pages 86 through 89:
In the year before Obama would order his massive “troop surge” and push a halfhearted American rededication to the Afghan state-building project, 400,000 girls started school for the first time in their lives, joining more than seven million young Afghans in school or attending one of the country’s ten new or newly reopened universities. More than 100,000 women were benefiting from micro-finance loans to help them set up their own businesses, and one in four MPs in the half-baked Afghan parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, were women. Public opinion polls found that Afghans were troubled by the slow pace of the country’s institutional development, but more than three-quarters of Afghans were happy with democracy.
More than four thousand medical facilities had opened since 2004, and eight of ten Afghans had at least some access to basic medical facilities, up from one in ten in 2004. Three out of every four Afghan children under the age of five had been immunized against childhood diseases. Since the rout of the Taliban, more than six hundred midwives had been trained and deployed to every province of Afghanistan.
Since September 11, 2001, more than 4,000 kilometres of roads had been built or paved. More than a billion square metres of mine-contaminated land had been cleared, and roughly 17,000 communities had benefited from development initiatives in the form of wells, schools and hospitals built under the auspices of the Afghan governments National Solidarity Program. One in ten Afghans owned a mobile phone, up from two telephone lines for every 1,000 Afghans in 2001. Across the country, 150 cities and towns had access to Internet service and to seven national television stations, and more than 100 radio stations were up and running, along with dozens of newspapers and magazines. To the great delight of Afghans, Bollywood was back.
When the Taliban ruled the streets of Kabul, the city was nearly empty of cars. Now one of Kabul’s biggest problems was its nightmarish traffic jams.
You couldn’t call things rosy but it simply could not be said that the NATO intervention was making things worse…
Despite the inexcusable post-9/11 disasters of America’s so-called light footprint Afghan policy, its “we don’t do nation-building” idiocy and the opportunities that had been heartlessly squandered by [U.S. secretary of defense] Donald Rumsfeld, you certainly could not say that the “war in Afghanistan” had been a bad thing for most Afghans. It was the best thing that had happened to the country in at least a quarter of a century. For most Afghans, it was the best thing that had happened in their whole lives.
Afghans had no shortage of rage about what the rest of the world had done to their country. They could dish out astute and furious criticisms of the way the UN, the ISAF and perhaps especially the Americans were conducting themselves in Afghanistan. But the least likely thing you’d hear from Afghans was “troops out.” Least of all from the women.