Perception of the Russians
One thing that really surprised me when I first came to Afghanistan was how many of my colleagues viewed the Soviet occupation as a sort of 'golden age' for them and their country. I had always believed the Afghan people had suffered so much under the Russians and could not wait for them to leave and/or be driven out. Of course, this was true to some extent but not everyone felt this way. To my surprise, many Afghans had studied in Moscow and even met their wives there. Essentially, they view the Russians in a similar way to how they view the US, a foreign entity trying to help their country improve but also making some egregious errors. It's very intriguing for me to hear this perspective as my preconceived notions so clearly differed.