The 28-page "Brochure for Understanding the Culture of Coalition Forces", which has been distributed to some 5,000 Afghan soldiers so far, sheds light on the huge cultural divide that still exists some 11 years after the U.S.-led invasion.
* Most coalition soldiers like talking about their families and share stories and photographs of them with their friends. If a coalition soldier asks you about your family members, including your wife or daughter, do not take this as an offense or an attempt to humiliate you. They only want to have friendly relations with you. Instead of taking offense, you should tell them that Afghans do not discuss their female family members with others.
* A coalition soldier might pass in front of you when you are praying without realizing it, or put their boots, which point to others in the room, on a table. You should not take offense at this practice.
* As you know, Afghans don't blow their noses in the presence of others. But the practice of blowing your nose in public is a very common practice among the countries where your coalition partners come from. If a coalition soldier blows his nose in your presence, do not take it as an insult.
* If a coalition solider is excited or wants to show appreciation for your work he may pat you on the back or shoulder. It is not meant as an insult and you should not take it personally.
* As you know, Afghans never shake with their left hands, wink, signal with their fingers, or show their private parts in the presence of others in the same shower. But coalition forces have a different way of doing things. They don't want to insult you; it is only a cultural difference. You should talk with your coalition colleagues about these differences.