Waiting, waiting, waiting
For the first Friday in ages I’m not going out into Kabul due to continuing sickness. (didn’t make it to Ghowr). All week I’ve been stuck in bed with my close friend Mr. Bucket listening to BBC Documentary (the Radio 4 Khmer Rock Doc was excellent and sad. Oppressive regimes always clamp down on art and music) and being fed DVDs from the market by friends. Watched a truly awful...
I like Harry Rud and his blog →
He blogs quite a bit from Ghowr province, where I’m headed tomorrow. He’s a lovely mix of self-depreciating, bumbling and joyous.
Taliban close in on the North
EDIT: This just in - truce with the Taliban agreed in Badghis (north-west). Seems like it’s time to talk with the Taliban. First I gushed about the North. Then I worried about it. But, of course, I didn’t make any difference. The Taliban have shut down all girls schools in Kunduz and imposed a 10% tax on the locals. However, the locals say they’ve brought security and...
False sense of security
I was talking to some American special forces yesterday and they were pessimistic about election day and the immediate aftermath being peaceful. There hasn’t been a major incident in Kabul since the co-ordinated attacks on ministry buildings back in February. “They’re lulling us into a false sense of security”, said one. Now, this may seem a little ridiculous considering...
There is a key difference between men and women. Men are afraid women will laugh...– From The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. (brought into mind by the case of Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein)
A transient scholar with a video camera– The nicest description anyone’s ever made of me here. (“That bloody journalist” is more usual)
The myth of women's rights in Afghanistan →
Good article about the reality of Afghan women’s ‘rights’. The big cities tend to be different and there are several women I know who wouldn’t want international forces to leave mainly because of the very real threat of another civil war. But let’s not kid ourselves that the war will do anything to ‘liberate’ women.
You don't have to live here, but I do →
Humbling blog by US soldier on talking to an 8-year old Afghan boy.
Brian in Spain....
Still listening to the BBC WHYS Afghanistan debate ‘Brian in Spain says we should make the UK borders tighter’ Yeah, filthy bloody immigrants, right Brian?
BBC World Service debate on Afghanistan →
World Have Your Say - an excellent discussion programme on the BBC World Service where I did a work placement - discuss Afghanistan. A pity many comments seem to be along the lines of ‘pull troops out and close our borders to anyone dusky looking’. Examples such as these… “We recently discovered, for example, that 10,000 Pakistani students are allowed into Britain...
In northern Afghanistan there are bloody loads of wild tortoises ready to invade your compound or even, in my case, your sleeping bag. This one in Kunduz fell over like a right twat.
Drop Kick The Punks - The Faint mp3 I have...
On a practice flight with Afghan and Czech pilots we fired rockets from the air at Bagram firing range in training for escort of VIPs.
Insurgency already moving to the north →
The beautiful north is seeing more violence, more fighting between local warlords, more bullying of the local people and much, much less acceptance of foreign forces. The Germans in the north were slow to build up Afghan security forces, especially police and there isn’t the security structure to support the weak Afghan government up there or enough employment to support otherwise moderate...
Petraeus says tough fight coming in Afghanistan →
And alludes to the whereabouts of Bin Laden! Are we really still looking for him?
Back in Kabul
But the focus is on the South. The huge Operation Khanjar in Helmand is a pre-election clean out of the Taliban strongholds and frustratingly my colleague down there with British troops can’t tell me what’s going on. (Oh and, incidentally, it’s officially not a ‘surge’ but an ‘uplift’, but let’s not get into PR semantics here) Casualties and deaths...