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Dead On Arrival?


Afghan police and U.S. Marines salute during a ceremony marking conclusion of the Afghans' training.

Afghan police and U.S. Marines salute during a ceremony marking conclusion of the Afghans' training.

NATO is trying out another indigenous word in Afghanistan.

Following a number of its previous operations that had evocative Arabic-derived terms shared by both Pashto and Dari, the process of transition of security from NATO to Afghanistan's own security forces is called "Inteqal," or "transfer" in Afghanistan's two native tongues, in the sense of passing from one state to another.

However, something may have got lost in translation.

In Urdu, the version of the Hindustani language spoken in neighboring Pakistan, "inteqal" means "dead."

As a colleague extensively versed in the regional languages explains, in the original Arabic, "inteqal" also signifies death, as in "passing on to the mercy of God."

-- Ahto Lobjakas

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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