During his visit to RAND, Afghanistan's Minister of Culture Sayyed Makhdum Rahin discussed his views on priorities in the cultural sector, current difficulties - both technical and political - facing the Afghan media scene, and the impact of recent years on Afghan youth. Afghan state television, he explained, was impeded doubly by the slowness of donors to deliver promised funds, and by political and ideological entanglements that led to massive outside interference in programming.

As for his agenda, Mr. Rahin described the broad spectrum of tasks facing his ministry: existing museums were devastated, monuments and cultural sites had largely been destroyed, traditional arts and handicrafts needed to be revived and taught to a new generation before they were lost. The low levels of literacy in the country, he explained, should not argue against projects such as public libraries, which could be used as centers of adult education and communication.

The younger generation of Afghanistan, Rahin said, had become extremely isolated from the world, and was hungry for any knowledge and inputs about life in other countries and cultures. Opening the windows on what had become a stifled society was, he felt, one of the preeminent tasks facing Afghan educators and their outside supporters.