The Afghan Defense Ministry has written up a pamphlet to guide its soldiers on American cultural practices that Afghans might find insulting, even if the intent of the U.S. service member isn't to offend.
The Washington Post got a hold of a copy of the pamphlet, called “Cultural Understanding — A Guide to Understanding Coalition Cultures.”
On the list of inadvertently offensive actions: winking, not hiding private parts in the shower, and blowing one's nose in public.
And, according to the booklet, Afghans shouldn't feel insulted if someone shows them the souls of their shoes...
“When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don’t know or have forgotten the Afghan custom.”
The purpose of the pamphlet is to ease tensions between U.S. troops and Afghan soldiers at a time when insider attacks are skyrocketing. According to the Washington Post, Afghan allies have killed 51 NATO ISAF troops so far this year.