In August 2021, I was reading Lt. Gen. Sami Sadat's article in the NY Times,24 and it reminded me of the lyrics of Billy Hill's song: "I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried. To make them understand. I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried. But they just can't understand." Like any other Pashtun, I also consider Afghanistan my "Loy Kor" or "Greater Homeland." Therefore, the early days of Afghanistan's fall were full of terrible surprises. There are many more questions in my mind than answers; consequently, it is normal to reflect on the situation from my own academic and professional background in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) and computer-human interaction (CHI).
ICT4D is an interdisciplinary field that has emerged in the 1990s when mobile phones, PCs, and Web services became cheaper and accessible in developing countries, and governments and international organizations heavily funded ICT-based initiatives as the tools for achieving development goals.7 In the early days, ICT4D research and practices were influenced by the technology diffusion models and overlooked the integration of co-design and factors of social embeddedness of ICTs, and therefore failed to contribute toward the achievement of inclusive development.16 However, the lessons learned are well documented and have led to developing specific guidelines and new watchwords.4 Based on my academic and ethnic background and recent fieldwork in the northwest part of Pakistan, I present my reflections on the Afghanistan fiasco in this Viewpoint. Following the sutra of effective communication,20 I restrict my reflections to three main points.
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