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June 04, 2009
In Afghanistan, American gestures such as the thumbs-up, the "OK" hand gesture or an open palm meaning stop are insulting or threatening.
And when Afghans want to indicate "come here," they extend their arms and wiggle their fingers with their palms down.
Those are the kinds of lessons company-level leaders from the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team got Wednesday in classes on cultural awareness. They are preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan this summer.
Gene Vinson, an instructor from Fort Riley, Kan., told a group of a
"One of the key attributes is a true humility," said Lt. Col. Will Huff, commander of 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment. "We have to see things through the lens of the Afghanis."