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By A. C.; Bell, Marjorie Jewett (editor) Jewett

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Extra info for An American Engineer in Afghanistan. From the Letters and Notes of A. C. Jewett

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When we were building the transmission line and were near his place, he would invite me to spend the night with him. This meant that he fed not only me, but about twenty of my followers including the horses. He wears an astrakhan cap, Russian boots, and a sword belt, which place him at once as an Afghan of the upper class. To indicate plainer his title to a gentleman of class, there would not be more than one in ten thousand in this country who could rank with him in education and wealth. His education consists of an ability to read and write and do simple sums; his wealth may be fifty to a hundred thousand dollars.

Even whites in India judge them by their contacts with the border tribesmen. Others read occasionally a brief newspaper account of a raid on the North West Frontier Province, or a punitive expedition to quiet some of the disturbances on the border. All Afghans are generally thought of as being alike, but this is not so; there are many distinct tribes as among the Pathans on the Indian borderland. Besides, there are manv distinct racial types among the Afghans. The Kabulis, people from the Kabul district, are a mixed lot: Tajiks of Iranian stock, Hazaras (distinctly Mongolian), Kizilbashes of Turkish origin from Persia, Kafirs from Kafiristan, supposed to be of early Greek (pre-Hellenic) origin, Turkomans, and more I cannot tell.

Powder is also manufactured, and the town contains a branch of the Kabul treasury. The houses are all of mud, the usual Afghan construction. I 41 AN AMERICAN ENGINEER IN AFGHANISTAN There are a good many Hindus in Afghanistan who have been here for generations. They are for the most part shopkeepers, traders, or landowners. I do not recall seeing one of them doing common labor. They are the Jews of Afghanistan. According to Islamic law, it is forbidden to charge interest, but there are other ways, and this does not affect charging for exchange.

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