Radio Free Europe found
“some surprising backers who have come forward to praise Mortenson. One of them is a local politician in Pakistan's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region who originally fiercely opposed Mortenson's work.
In "Three Cups of Tea," Imran Nadim Shigri is described as an influential political figure who backed a conservative Shi'ite cleric's religious decree against the CAI's school-building.
Shigri has confirmed that Mortenson did build schools in the remote valleys of his native Baltistan. He could not recall the exact number of schools built by the CAI but said that in the remote Braldu Valley he had personally supervised the handover of five of Mortenson's school buildings to the government, which is now providing teachers and funds to run them.
Shigri says Mortenson's heart was in the right place but that the main problem was his lack of management skills, because Mortenson trusted some local people who misguided him and overinflated building costs.
Shigri also faults Mortenson for focusing largely on building infrastructure without concentrating on the education that would be provided in these buildings. "He only focused on constructing schools. He failed to ensure their sustainability and [proper] management," he says. "He also failed to ensure a high quality of education in these institutions." …
Across the border in Afghanistan, Gul Zaman, governor of the remote Naray district in insurgency-plagued eastern Konar Province, says that three of Mortenson's schools are already working in his district while one more is being built.
In the settlement of Saw alone, Zaman says, "around 700 to 800 boys and girls benefit" from the local school and there are also "200 to 300" pupils enrolled at each of the schools in Samarak and Suna Gala.
On its website, the CAI lists eight schools in Konar and in a recent U.S. television interview, Mortenson claimed to have built 11 schools in the province.
But Zaman says that two of the schools named by the CAI were actually built by a NATO provincial reconstruction team. Zaman's statement was verified by Syed Jamaluddin Hassani, head of Konar's education department.
That the schools are not all being used should surprise no one.
This is not to say that Mortensen's evident distortions of truth should be condoned, merely that some honest achievements did take place even as some embarrassing distortions of truth were used to attract funds. It was a betrayal of all the interested parties -- of Mortensen himself, even, as well as all the rest.
The tragedy for all of us is that we fail more often than we want anyone else to know. Mortensen's failures are now hung out for all to see. We can all be glad "60 Minutes" doesn't think our lies are worth exposing. Sometimes telling the truth can be costly, but in the end the price of not telling the truth can surpass all attempts at restitution.