November 14, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Afghanistan: Current : Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

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By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 1:39 am: Edit Post

Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

"Osama Bin Laden trained the Arabs living in Afghanistan in terrorism," Gouttierre said, "they first targeted the Saudi monarchy and then the U.S. because they were somehow connected." According to Gouttierre, Bin Laden believes that the U.S. is on a crusade to undermine Islam. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's.

Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

Speaker explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan
By: Sean Michael
Issue date: 11/14/05 Section: News
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Thomas Gouttierre speaks on Thursday about Afghanistan and global terrorism.
Media Credit: Valerie Breshears
Thomas Gouttierre speaks on Thursday about Afghanistan and global terrorism.

On Thursday, a scholar from the University of Nebraska-Omaha visited UM-St. Louis to speak about Afghanistan and the problems of global terrorism in the country.

Thomas E. Gouttierre is dean of international studies and programs at UNO and at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He also serves as director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO.

Gouttierre spoke about the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the help the United States gave to the Afghan people. After the Cold War, the Soviets left, and the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan and used their funds to help the Soviet Union, according to Gouttierre. He said the Afghan people have a hatred for the U.S., because they were abandoned in their time of need.

Gouttierre described religion as a factor causing terrorism to sprout in Afghanistan. Three cultures, Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, and Sunni Kurds are the prevalent cultures in Islam, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Gouttierre.

Saddam Hussein came from Iraq, and had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of 9-11, Gouttierre explained. Out of Islam came Osama Bin Laden to help Afghanistan combat the Soviet Union to drive them out of Afghanistan. He later turned his sights on the United States, Gouttierre noted.

"Osama Bin Laden trained the Arabs living in Afghanistan in terrorism," Gouttierre said, "they first targeted the Saudi monarchy and then the U.S. because they were somehow connected." According to Gouttierre, Bin Laden believes that the U.S. is on a crusade to undermine Islam.

Gouttierre met a few members of the Taliban, who worked with Bin Laden during the terrorist attacks of 9-11. His task was to initiate a ceasefire, but he did not have any success.

Afghanistan's infrastructure was physically and logistically destroyed, Gouttierre said, making life difficult for Afghanis.

"We should have helped the Soviet Union, but we never should have left Afghanistan," Gouttierre said.

"In the '60s and '70s, Afghanistan was an ideal place to live,"Gouttierre said. He arrived in Afghanistan as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul. He has lived, worked and studied in Afghanistan for about 37 years as a Fulbright Fellow, and later as Executive Director of the Fulbright Foundation in Afghanistan.

He learned the language, which is primarily Persian, and coached basketball there.

"It was a way for me to get in with the community," Gouttierre said. "Afghanistan is kind of a small-town country; you know someone, you know everyone."

The Center for Afghanistan Studies has been marshalling a Reconstruction Campaign for this country.

"We're helping Afghans to start schools, and publish textbooks, and we're training Afghan women to be master teachers," Gouttierre explained.

The UNO plans to improve the intellectual capacity of Afghanistan for the children living there.

"Around $9 million in books and training teachers were spent during the Reconstruction effort," Gouttierre said, "and all are Afghanistan employees." He said that the UNO is trying to employ as many Afghans as they can, so that they do not have to spend more money to teach the language to outsiders.

Gouttierre said that the Afghan people are disappointed with the pace of the Reconstruction effort, and they are not happy with non-governmental organizations getting involved.

Gouttierre noted that Bin Laden is responsible for distributing weapons to the Afghan people. "We have done a very good job in disarming Afghanistan of some of the weapons left in that country," he said.

Gouttierre's chief goal is to educate Americans, so that they will not duplicate the mistakes of the past. He wants more people in this country to be aware of the situation in Afghanistan, and to lend a helping hand if necessary.

Gouttierre's speech had the ability to turn some heads. "He has a depth and wealth of knowledge about a place that's so remote for most Americans, who may only know a few headlines," International Studies Coordinator Mike Costello said. He said that it is unfortunate more could not be shared.

Marianne Cain, senior, art history, felt the speech was interesting.

"I didn't realize all of the history of Afghanistan; my opinion was based on current news for the past three to four years," she said. "It was very eye-opening."

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By Anonymous ( - on Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 10:39 pm: Edit Post

I really want ro be a peace crop member of UNO as soon possible because i am really wasting my time in Australia by studying Hospitality course.I do not want to be a part of man who just live for themselves i want o help oters by giving all my efforts.
Madan Limbu

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