JALALABAD, Afghanistan – Jamil Ahmed Khogyani, a 17-year old high school senior, is wondering whether he should apply for college, or simply enlist in the Taliban after graduating this upcoming spring.
“I want to be the first in my family to go to college,” Jamil told the reporters as he stroked his platinum-white beard. “But I don’t know if I’m mature enough yet. On the other hand, If I’m going to enlist the Taliban, my dad says I should learn a trade like guarding a poppy field, or making IEDs like he did at my age in the mid-2000s.”
“Don’t tell him I said this, but that lifestyle took its toll on him. At 34, he’s starting to look pretty old.”
Like many teenagers in Afghanistan, Jamil enjoys playing games like Snake and Tetris on his phone, hanging out with friends, and spending time with his wives and children. Sadly, many promising young men like Jamil face the difficult decision of either going off to college, or earning money the old-fashioned way — by fighting foreign invaders as …