Making Promises in Afghanistan

Video Transcript

(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

SME 1: "Don’t promise them in a meeting. When you want to help them, or they ask you for something, don’t promise them right away. Because in Afghanistan, we say, ‘qauul,’ or ‘jaba’ in Pashto. When you say the word, you get their tongue, and say, ‘Okay, I will do this for you.’ So you have to do it. If you don’t, people will lose their trust in you. So don’t say right away, ‘I will do this.’ Say, ‘Okay, write [it] down, I will look for this. Next time I will give you an answer.’ That’s a good way to answer. And don’t say, ‘I can’t do this.’ Again, they will lose their trust."

SME 2: "Promise is the most important thing in Pashtunwali. Once they promise that [they] will do, for example, ‘I promise that I will do something.’ If I break that promise, then it’s not acceptable. So to keep those norms, we have to go by the promise."

Two Afghan nationals talk about making promises in Afghanistan.