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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

How to Survive in Kabul: Lesson 1a

Thursday, November 27, 2008

With the recent spate of suicide bombings, assassinations and kidnappings in Kabul, a lot of people have been asking me: "Is everything ok?, Are you safe? Are you taking precautions?"

So here is a simple list of things you can do to better your chances of survival in Kabul:

1. Never travel before 10 am, sleep in, the majority of bomb attacks occur between 7-10am, (peak hour).
2.Leave you house/office at varying times through the day, don't have a regular schedule.
3. Use a motorcycle instead of a car, most people don't expect a foreigner to ride a bike.
4. When riding, distance yourself from Land Cruisers (especially white ones) or any other armoured 4WDs.
5. Distance yourself even more from any military convoys, they are higher targets than Land Cruisers.
6. When possible, avoid roads that have embassies, military bases and UN offices on them.
7. Wear local clothes, this can include a mix of Afghan and Western, as many young Afghans do mix. DON'T wear khaki coloured clothes: it is the unofficial uniform of private security contractors. (or monkeys as we call them)
8. Don't stop at Police check points, unless the guard gives you a serious wave down or points his gun at you.
9. Learn some of the language, so you can talk your way out of a situation if needed.
10. Carry some small denominations of the local currency, just in case you need to bribe a policeman (US dollars will work too)

Good luck.

KK
posted by Travis, 9:46 am | link | 4 comments |

The KKMC is in The Age

Saturday, November 15, 2008

posted by Travis, 9:47 am | link | 0 comments |

Boy bomber: 'free me, I've got exams

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quqnoos

Schoolboy error shouldn't stop attempted suicide bomber's timetable

THIS morning, he was a committed jihadist. This afternoon, he wants to go back to school.

Nematullah, 17, was arrested this morning on suspicion of planning a suicide bomb attack on the Company area of Kabul. The schoolboy, from Maidan Wardak, was encouraged to blow himself up by Mullah Qasim, a Taliban commnander, police said.

Nematullah drove himself to the capital in a Toyota Town Ace packed with deadly explosives. But the plan went wrong almost immediately. Nematullah panicked when he saw a police checkpoint and tried to turn around. Unfortunately for him, he then crashed into another car.

He fled the scene and hid. Police, who had by now found explosives in the crashed minibus, gave chase and captured the boy.

“My school exams are next week – the government should release me,” Nematullah told Quqnoos.com.

Quqnoos questioned his academic ambition, given that, had his plan succeeded, he would have been dead by lunchtime on Thursday.

“As I’m alive, it would be nice to pass my exams,” he replied.
posted by Travis, 7:30 pm | link | 1 comments |

Motorcyclist's Aint Cool!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bikers use water pistols to spray acid on girls

quqnoos

Fifteen schoolgirls sprayed with acid outside their school in Kandahar

UNIDENTIFIED men on motorcycles have sprayed acid on 15 schoolgirls in the southern province of Kandahar, an official says.

Two men used water pistols to spray the acid on the girls as they entered the Mawais Nika Girls School in the provincial capital on Wednesday morning, a spokesman for the Education Minsitry, Hamid Elmi, said.

Kandahari police rushed the girls to hospital, where three of them are in a serious condition, Elmi said.

Some of the girls had acid sprayed in their eyes. Police have arrested two men in connection with the incident.

"Security remains the biggest bar to education in southern Afghanistan," said an education ministry spokesman.



Pathetic.
posted by Travis, 4:22 pm | link | 0 comments |

Prediction: Grunge will be the Revamp of the 2010s

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Like the sad revamp of the 80s pop culture and music of recent years, I predict by 2015 the 90s will be 'cool' with generation Y.

So all my crusty hoodies, black T shirts and baggy pants will be in fashion. Youths will be listening to Tool, Mudhoney and Alice in Chains.

And Ill walk up to them and say: "Dude when I was your age I saw the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on their Blood Sugar Sex Magic Tour and was kicked out for being too drunk!"
"Yeh right pops."

Man Im feeling old already....
posted by Travis, 11:31 pm | link | 5 comments |

Tajikistan Tour Triumphant

Images By Me and DJ City Power

White City and DJ City Power now known as the Combat Rock Collective have returned triumphant from the 10 day tour of neighboring Tajikistan. With only one contact in hand, they managed to pull off 5 unplanned concerts in Dushanbe and surrounding villages.

But before all that, members had to bribe border officials with their musical delights to get across the border by boat.

While other members flew in the comfort of a C130 French military plane!

The first gig was at a Irish bar and we played to a music thirsty crowd of locals and ex-pats who told us: "We just don't get live bands in Dushanbe!"
Our next gig was at a traditional musical museum, organised by our friends at NGO: Bactria, the idea was not to draw a big crowd, but to have an intimate jam session with local musicians and hopefully harvest some tunes for later in the week.

After all this hard work we need to chill, so we head into the mountains to a village of Khoje ab-e-Garm, famous for its healing waters. We stayed in a luxury hotel and bathed ourselves in the suana.

Next morn we were up and ready for our lunch time concert at the central Sanatorium to a crowd of 200 pensioners slurping up their daily cruel. We were a natural hit.

Back to the 'real' world of Dushanbe we had the task of sourcing costumes for our next big gig. Seeing this was the combat rock tour, what better than to get geared up in Soviet apparel.

After such a successful first gig at the Irish bar, they begged us to play again, this time we were playing tighter and looking sharper.

Later that night we retired to an under ground bunker, where DJ City power pumped out more banging tunes to a intimate crowd of 'friends of the band'.

We ended the tour with a mini music fest at the state theater. 3 local bands and White City rocked the house to a mob of screaming teenagers!

The first band was Husher, with a lead singer who is definite future pop star material.

Next up was 28 days after Tomorrow, these boys rocked so hard that we almost packed up and went home early.


The last of the Tajik bands was United: Featuring Alexander. I only found out after the gig that they were Christian rock band... Respect, they still rocked the house!

Then came the much anticipated White City. What we lacked in pure musical genius, we made up for in stage presence. Nah we rocked hard and played what I thought was the best concert since I joined the band.

DJ City Power took over from us and as he did every night and kept the crowd pumping till the lights were turned on and everyone was kicked out.

All up the tour was more than we could ever imagined and I guess they liked us, cause we have been invited back to partake in a music festival in June 2009.

RESPECT TO TAJIK ROCK!


Next week: all the high jinks of the trip.......
posted by Travis, 9:37 pm | link | 4 comments |

Highway Robbery!

Militants in Pakistan have looted 12 trucks carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan, officials say.

The trucks were carrying two Humvee armoured vehicles and food supplies. They were hijacked on Monday as they travelled through the Khyber Pass.


Later, the trucks were found abandoned in a valley. There is no word yet on the 26 people who were taken captive.

The road is a major supply route for US and Western forces battling against the Taleban in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Hauliers say that over 350 trucks daily carry an average of 7,000 tonnes of goods over the Khyber Pass to Kabul

Wish I taken the image....
Respect the unknown snapper!
posted by Travis, 1:12 pm | link | 0 comments |

Kabul Knights discover rival club....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Meet Afghanistan's Motorcycle Police, the U.S. Military's Newest Weapon Against Taliban Insurgents

By Anna Mulrine
GHAZNI, Afghanistan—The newest weapon in the U.S. military's fight against the Taliban here is the country's first unit of motorcycle-riding Afghan police, trained and mentored by an Army captain with the help of a biker bar owner and Harley devotee from Washington state.

After soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry Regiment killed three Taliban insurgents on motorbikes last month, they considered selling off the bikes to supplement the salaries of the poorly paid local police.

Then they had another idea. "We were sitting around talking one night and thought, 'Hey, maybe the Afghan police can use these things,'" says Lt. Col. Tony DeMartino, the battalion's commander.

The Afghan police agreed. During joint operations, the Taliban have little trouble spotting, not to mention hearing, large U.S. military vehicles rumbling toward small villages. That allows the guerrillas time to escape on motorbikes.

U.S. troops recently watched what turned out to be a high-value Taliban target flee on a bike during an operation. Uncertain of his identity, the soldiers didn't shoot. Chasing him down through narrow back roads in a heavy Humvee, they add, would have been impossible.

In these situations, U.S. military helicopter assistance can be helpful, but troops note that such support is in high demand and short supply throughout the country. But Afghan police on motorbikes could conceivably be a solution.

In the months since, the motorcycle unit has proved highly effective in supplementing U.S. operations in the area and surprising insurgents.
posted by Travis, 12:12 am | link | 1 comments |

Afghanistan bans street begging

Friday, November 07, 2008

By Martin Vennard
The government in Afghanistan has banned begging on the country's streets and called on the authorities to send beggars to care homes and orphanages. Officials say beggars are vulnerable to crime and exploitation.

Correspondents say Afghans are sceptical about whether the government can really carry out the ban as there are so many beggars and much poverty. Beggars are a common sight on the streets of the capital, Kabul, and other Afghan towns and cities.

Most of the beggars are women, children, the disabled or elderly and their numbers increase in the winter as food becomes scarcer and employment opportunities dry up.

It has asked the Interior Ministry to arrest beggars and send them to orphanages or care homes run by the Red Crescent Society.

The United Nations says the true number of beggars is not known, but that Afghanistan is ranked as the fifth least developed country in the world, living on less than the equivalent of $2 a day
posted by Travis, 11:31 pm | link | 3 comments |

Maral does Metal!

Our newest member Maral is off to Armenia in 2 weeks to play with her other band: 5 gms (an Iranian Thrash Metal Band)We like to wish all the best with the festival and we look forward to next time she plays with White City.


666
posted by Travis, 11:02 pm | link | 4 comments |

Cant Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Thursday, November 06, 2008

While in Dushanbe last week we were talking to our friend Saidbek whom worked in Afghanistan while the Soviets were occupying the country. We compared differences and similarities between that occupation and this one.

One factor that seem to be quite obvious was that the Afghans had some level of respect for the Russians for fighting man on man, face to face. I know it may sound twisted, but Afghans had respect for their oppressor.

With the new occupation, Afghans are loosing faith in this invention. If NATO keep dropping bombs (on innocent civilians regularly) instead of facing their opponent, how do they expect to gain support for this 'War on Terror'.......

Air strikes killed about 40 civilians

KABUL (AFP) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday around 40 civilians, including women and children, were killed in international air strikes that hit a village in southern Afghanistan.

Monday's strike, which hit a wedding party, Afghan authorities reported that there was women, children and the bride included in the victims.

The president "condemned the air strike which killed around 40 and wounded another 28 civilians in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province," a statement from his office said.

"Safeguarding the life and property of the people of Afghanistan is one of the basic responsibilities of the Afghan government," the president said.

"Once again we remind the coalition forces that by any way possible they should avoid civilian casualties and not allow the killing and injury of innocent people of Afghanistan for the sake of some criminal terrorists."

New Just in:
HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Foreign forces have killed seven civilians in an air strike in northwest Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday, a day after the Afghan president said warplanes had killed 40 civilians in the south.




..........?
posted by Travis, 7:35 pm | link | 1 comments |

Situation Not Kool in Kabul

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

KABUL (AFP) – Gunmen abducted a French aid worker in the Afghan capital Monday and shot dead an Afghan man who tried to rescue him, the Kabul government said, in the latest of a series of attacks on foreigners here.

The abducted man was education specialist Dany Egreteau, 32, from Paris-based human rights group Solidarite Laique, who had arrived in Afghanistan on a visit a week ago, the group said.

There has been a series of kidnappings in the capital, mostly by criminal gangs seeking thousands of dollars in ransom, while three expatriates were shot dead last month, one in an attack claimed by Taliban insurgents.

The extremist Taliban group said however it was not involved in the kidnapping of the Frenchman.

An Afghan man who tried to help was shot and killed as he scuffled with the gunmen, interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashari told AFP.

The dead man was identified by his uncle as Malik, 26, a driver for a provincial intelligence department.
posted by Travis, 3:28 pm | link | 1 comments |