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Kabul Korrespondence

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

In the Oz

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

posted by Travis, 2:28 pm | link | 0 comments |

Who isn't a target these days?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Assassination:

AOG have claimed responsibility for the assassination of a local rickshaw driver, accusing him of providing a tip to ANSF on an IED that was emplaced in Ali Shing a few days prior to his assassination. Furthermore, AOG assert that the victim was a long-time ‘agent’ for ANSF. Details of the event are as follows: the victim picked up an unknown amount of men in Laghman Province, Mihtarlam District, Mihtarlam City on 11 April, and after transporting them, the men brandished pistols, set the rickshaw ablaze, and shot the victim dead.

As many of you may know i used to be a rickshaw rider for some year........so sad.


posted by Travis, 5:01 pm | link | 0 comments |

Taliban Execute Couple For Eloping

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

National Post

Taliban insurgents publicly executed a man and girl yesterday for eloping when she was engaged to marry someone else. Hashim Noorzai, head of Khash Rud district, Nimroz, said the two were killed by gun shots in front of a crowd of villagers. He had no details on how the Taliban had come to be involved in passing judgement, but said much of the mainly desert district was under their control. Nimroz is a sparsely populated area near the Iranian and Pakistani borders where foreign or government troops have little presence. Like much of southern Afghanistan, it has become a stronghold for Taliban fighters who were driven out of Kabul in 2001 but are making a comeback in the south and east.

posted by Travis, 5:37 pm | link | 3 comments |

Al Qaeda's Shadow Army commander outlines Afghan strategy

posted by Travis, 12:41 am | link | 0 comments |

Wrong Wrong Wrong

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In what combat scenario anywhere it the world, can an unborn baby inside a mothers womb be seen as potential threat to the US forces conducting 'operations'?



KABUL (AFP) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai Friday slammed a US-led raid that locals said killed four members of a family as well as an unborn baby shot dead in its mother's womb.

Karzai ordered a sweeping investigation and reiterated demands that foreign troops, who are in Afghanistan to fight extremist Islamic insurgents, conduct their operations in a manner that does not harm civilians.

The US military has admitted that the four people shot dead in the raid overnight Wednesday to Thursday in the eastern province of Khost were not "armed combatants" as first announced.

The nine-months pregnant woman had survived the shooting that killed her unborn child, said a relative, Afghan army officer Awal Khan. Khan's wife, brother and two children were killed.

An Afghan health official also said the unborn baby was shot dead in its mother's womb.
posted by Travis, 9:40 am | link | 6 comments |

Afghan travels across Europe strapped under bus

Thursday, April 09, 2009

WARSAW (AFP) –
An Afghan youth survived a 30-hour journey from Athens strapped underneath a bus, only to discover that he had arrived in Poland and not his chosen destination Italy, border guards said Monday.

"The man, aged 19 years old, was hidden near the gear box, attached with a belt," Elzbieta Pikor, spokesman for the Polish border guard, told AFP.

Polish transport mechanics had discovered him as they were checking the bus.

"Italia?" the young man asked as he emerged from his hiding place after the 2,800-kilometre (1,700-mile) journey.

In fact, he had arrived in Nowa Deba, southern Poland, having picked the wrong bus, another from the same line having left Athens for Italy.

"He was exhausted, frozen and starving, but in good health," said Pikor.

The would-be immigrant had travelled through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia along the way, the gear cable scratching his face every time the bus changed gears.
posted by Travis, 4:10 pm | link | 0 comments |

Pirate Radio: 'Taliban Style'

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The use of clandestine FM radio stations has helped the Taliban not only to recruit followers but also to impose fear throughout the valley. The insurgents also use mobile phones and propaganda CDs to incite hatred of their opponents and the armed forces.
Maulana Fazlullah, who refuses to be photographed or filmed, addresses the population every week on his FM radio station.

“Residents keep an ear glued to the transistor when he speaks not out of love but out of fear of what he will announce,” a Peshawar-based journalist said. The Taliban use their radio stations to issue decrees against individuals or organisations and summon people before their courts to answer for crimes under the Sharia. The bodies of several residents who failed to respond to a radio summons to appear before the Taliban were later found decapitated on the streets.

“Yes, I regularly listen to the Taliban radio stations in case a decree is issued against me,” said a businessman with a relative who was killed for failing to appear before an Islamic court.

The Taliban also distribute DVDs showing bodies with the heads cut off or the throats slit, or airforce planes bombarding their positions. All this is accompanied by calls to jihad against the “infidels.”
People interviewed by Reporters Without Borders complained of the government’s failure to jam the illegal Taliban radio stations. “It has let terror be imposed,” a Swat resident said.
posted by Travis, 11:54 pm | link | 1 comments |

Afghanistan divided over potential 'Talebanisation'

Tom Coghlan

A controversial law that reintroduces many Taleban-era restrictions on women has provoked a rare public protest from liberals in Afghanistan's increasingly divided Establishment.

Five Cabinet ministers were among nearly 200 Afghan officials and intellectuals who issued a petition opposing the law yesterday, claiming that it “violates the essence of the Afghan Constitution and principle of selfautonomy of citizens, [and] permits women to be dealt with not as human beings . . . but rather as an object”.

The petition calls on Afghans to oppose the “Talebanisation” of their society. A total of 22 MPs signed — although this is a small minority of the 249 MPs who might have added their names to the document.

The law appears to condone marital rape and child marriage. It forbids women to leave home without their husband's permission and removes the right to inherit their husband's wealth.

The international community reacted with horror to the law, with President Obama calling it “abhorrent”.

The Afghan Government of President Karzai, bowing to international pressure, announced on Monday that the law was to be reviewed and had not yet come into force.

Afghan women suffer from the lowest literacy rate in the world, at 13 percent. According to the UK-based NGO Womankind, anywhere between sixty and eighty percent of marriages are forced, 57 percent of brides are under the age of 16, and 87 percent complain of domestic violence. UNIFEM says that 65 percent of widows in Kabul see suicide as their only option to "get rid of their miseries and desolation." Thousands of women turn to self-immolation every year. There are no reliable stats on rape, as most women will never report it. This is because women can be convicted of zina, extramarital sex, if knowledge of the rape becomes public. In most of the country, even a woman just found outside of her home without the permission of her male guardian will be thrown in jail and tried as an adulterer.

BUT

By Matthew Fisher

As Afghanistan's Parliament debated ways Monday to protect female politicians from assassination, young women attending Kabul University expressed surprise and bewilderment at the debate raging in Canada and Europe over a proposed law that seems to allow men from the Shiite Hazara minority to sexually enslave their wives and imprison them in their homes.

The nearly unanimous view on the campus — arguably the most progressive institution in Afghanistan — was that the West should not involve itself in the country's cultural and religious affairs.

posted by Travis, 6:10 pm | link | 3 comments |

Doing too much

Ive had quite a few friends comment on how they don't get as many post on my blog as I used to. This is true. I wish it was otherwise, but honestly these days I'm just too busy to post once a week.

Organsing White City's next tour, a separate musical festival, bring the World Press Photo exhibition here, trying to get two documentary films off the ground, working as a freelance photojournalist and part taking in the recreational activities of the KKMC takes up a lot of time.

So from now on I'm going to send out less notifications and only post once a month. But there will be more compelling and interesting posts than before.

So stay tuned.

KK
posted by Travis, 6:10 pm | link | 0 comments |

What I envisaged as a paradise

As I read the news today that the medieval city L'Aquila had been struck by an earthquake, I was struck by a personal shock.

In 2000 I was traveling with my then Italian girlfriend and friends around the country. We stopped in this stone housed village in the province of Abruzzo. I instantly fell in love with the village and started ranting on about how I would like to buy a house here.



We did some asking around and found out that the houses were selling for as little as 5000 Euros, numerous Germans had come down and snapped half the village up. When I asked why this virtually ghost town was going for such a song, the locals told us that the area had been hit by a savage earthquake many years ago and they were just game to take the risk of living there again.

I left dreaming of renovating my own 100 year old stone cottage and even went to the extent of partitioning my immediate family into 'chipping in' a grand each and buy our own little piece of Italy.


Now I see that fate has played a card that has tragically killed hundreds of people and if I had of chosen a different path 9 years ago, maybe I would not be here today.

To all the people of Abruzzo province my thoughts go out to you in this time of need.

KK
posted by Travis, 5:02 pm | link | 1 comments |

The Refugee Crisis Continues

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Pakistani police found on Saturday 43 dead bodies and dozens of other people, many of them unconscious, crammed inside a shipping container on a truck from Afghanistan, an official and police said.

The truck had apparently been driven in to Pakistan by human smugglers aiming to take the people to Iran, said government official Naseem Lari.

"The truck came from Spin Boldak and was bound for Iran," Lari said, referring to an Afghan border town opposite the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

"We've got 43 dead confirmed and many more unconscious," he said.

The truck carrying the container had been left at a truck stop on the outskirts of the city of Quetta and police had been alerted after passers-by heard cries for help, said police official Abid Jadoon.

Jadoon said about 100 people in total were in the container and the dead had suffocated in its tightly sealed interior.

posted by Travis, 3:18 pm | link | 3 comments |

Place your bets !!!!!

If I may.... predict (on personal preference) [for the better of this country and not all the hype that encompases the candidates in modern day election] I bet on Dr. Abdullah as next president of Afghanistan.

Abdullah was a leading member of the Northern Alliance — a group of warlords and politicians from Afghanistan's north who helped oust the Taliban during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. The Northern Alliance no longer exists as a formal structure.

Abdullah on Friday hosted reporters at his family compound in the Panjshir Valley, about two hours north of Kabul, the capital. He did not formally announce his candidacy, saying he would likely do so next week, but the lunch was filled with hints of his intentions.


"We are discussing it with many, many parties and potential candidates. It shows our intention to have a sort of grand coalition," Abdullah said.

Abdullah, who like many Afghans goes by one name, would be one of the most serious candidates to join the race, which is seen as a crucial test for Afghanistan's young democracy as the country battles a violent Taliban-led insurgency.

Abdullah would likely draw many votes from Afghanistan's north, including members of the former Northern Alliance, which withstood the Soviet onslaught in the 1980s.

Abdullah is of mixed ethnic background. His father is Pashtun, the dominant group in Afghanistan, while his mother is Tajik. Tajiks make up about 25 percent of the country's 30 million people. Karzai is an ethnic Pashtun. Pashtuns make up roughly 45 percent of the country.


May the best man win.......
posted by Travis, 1:25 am | link | 0 comments |

King of the Road

Friday, April 03, 2009

Uruzgan, in central Afghanistan is where the Dutch and Australian troops are based. Tarin Kowt the capitial of Uruzgan, in Afghanistan. We join a fuel convoy of 100 trucks going from Kandahar to Tarin Kowt. The fuel is bound for use by the Dutch, Aussie and US forces and without this volatile cargo their mission would be virtually impossible. The fuel is delivered by an Afghan company and security is provided by local 'Police Colonel' Matiullah Khan. Without his 2000 strong men guarding the road the Taliban would and do attack the convoy.



Local residents in Kandahar wait for anything up to 2 weeks for the convoy to take off and use it's hired protection to secure their own safe passage to Tarin Kowt. Besides the threat of attacks, commuter must battle with trucks turning over, getting bogged and struggling over rough roads. Our convoy was forced to spend the night in the side of the road as there is a no-driving after dark policy in the area. After a uncomfortable nights sleep in the cab of the truck we continued onto Tarin Kowt where we met Matiullah and his henchmen.

Stayed tuned to your TV sets and news papers for the full story.

KK
posted by Travis, 10:55 pm | link | 4 comments |