In late 2006, I was working on finishing materials for high school classrooms on the Iraq War. Michael Bhatia was one of the scholars here at the Watson Institute who reviewed the text and offered suggestions. One suggestion was that our next project should be on Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan was eclipsed by the insurgency in Iraq at the time, but Mike was sure Afghanistan was going to get tougher and need more attention from both the U.S. government and the public.
Mike was killed in Afghanistan by an IED in May 2008. (You can read more about him here.)
I thought about Mike often as I worked on curriculum materials on the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, a project I started in 2010. Last week, we released these curriculum resources on Afghanistan. There are readings that detail the history and culture of that country, videos of scholars, and lessons and activities that equip students to explore important and relevant issues as they consider the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan.