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Kabul Korrespondence

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

Month of MUD !!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Every year in Afghanistan, when the days get shorter and the sun looses its intensity, then the rain starts to fall. Not long after it mixes with the 5cm of dust covering the city and its turns into MUD. the whole city is covered in the shit.

Everyone thinks we are mad moving around on motorcycles in this muck, but it beats being stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours. My recent work has been with the UN on J'bad road. It also happens to be the location of the best pizza in town. I usually pick one up on the way back to central Kabul.

posted by Travis, 12:19 am | link | 4 comments |

Introducing Kabul Dreams

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If your going get serious about making music and playing live concerts, then you need a support band right......

Well, White City have unearthed a little gem in Kabul: Kabul Dreams are a young, vibrant and damn good Indy Rock Band. Maybe they are the only Afghan rock band in Afghanistan.......

Either way, we are proud to have them as our official opening act and we look forward to rocking the 'Stans with them in 2010.

Here's a sneak preview:

video
posted by Travis, 10:37 am | link | 4 comments |

An awesome conspiracy 'theory'

posted by Travis, 10:29 am | link | 0 comments |

Bad ratings

Sunday, November 22, 2009

(Reuters) – Eight years after a U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, the war-ravaged state is the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be born, the United Nations said on Thursday.

It is especially dangerous for girls, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in launching its annual flagship report, The State of the World's Children.

Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world -- 257 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 70 percent of the population lacks access to clean water, the agency said.

Another report published by Transparency International recently released its survey of corrupt countries. Afghanistan was ranked the second most corrupt, being only slightly better than Somalia (The U.S. was ranked 19th least corrupt).

This war has come at a high price. So far, we have spent 227 billion dollars in Afghanistan, with a proposed 73 billion to be spent there next fiscal year. There have been over 4500 casualties and 900 deaths of American troops. Meanwhile, almost 6600 Afghan civilians have died. These totals do not include our misguided detour through Iraq (which has cost 683 billion dollars so far, plus over 31,000 casualties and 4000 American deaths, and around 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths).
posted by Travis, 12:16 am | link | 3 comments |

Does Mr O have his own private jet ?

The Washington Times
Mullah Mohammed Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, has fled a Pakistani city on the border with Afghanistan and found refuge from potential U.S. attacks in the teeming Pakistani port city of Karachi with the assistance of Pakistan's intelligence service, three current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Two senior U.S. intelligence officials and one former senior CIA officer told The Washington Times that Mullah Omar traveled to Karachi last month after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He inaugurated a new senior leadership council in Karachi, a city that so far has escaped U.S. and Pakistani counterterrorism campaigns, the officials said.

The development reinforces suspicions that the ISI, which helped create the Taliban in the 1990s to expand Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, is working against U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

"Some sources claim the ISI decided to move him further from the battlefield to keep him safe" from U.S. drone attacks, said Mr. Riedel, who headed the Obama administration's review of policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan last spring. "There are huge madrassas in Karachi where Mullah Omar could easily be kept."

The official said that neither Osama bin Laden nor al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri has been spotted in Karachi. The official said the top two al Qaeda figures are still thought to be in the tribal region of Pakistan on Afghanistan's border.

There also have been rumors circulating around Kabul that Karzai's administration will soon meet Top Taliban member in Saudi Arabia.... Maybe Mr O will drop in and add his take on the discussion.
posted by Travis, 12:14 am | link | 1 comments |

White City: Last Gig for 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Its White City today.
Obey your masters.......

Its White City tomorrow.
Disobey them.........


posted by Travis, 2:44 pm | link | 3 comments |

My Buds Band in Japan

Monday, November 16, 2009

My old friend Dom has a band in Japan, playing traditional ninja folk music. Quite interesting. Check it out:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&contributorid=11395252
posted by Travis, 6:57 pm | link | 0 comments |

Party of the Year [Well in Kabul at least]

White City: Version 2.0 and DJ City Power played with 3 other bands: 4am Gossip, Kyber Zoo and Kabul Dreams, to 200 + party goers last weekend.

It was a kick-ass party ending at 5am. And we hope it is the start of a new 'social scene' in Afghanistan. Hell, we need something different from lame bars and intimate dinner parties.

Here is a sneak preview of our gig:

video



Our first music video and EP recording are scheduled to be released this summer [southern hemisphere]
posted by Travis, 5:21 pm | link | 5 comments |

$1 Million Dollar man

Press TV

The cost of sending 40,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan is estimated to be between $40 billion to $54 billion annually, a new report says.

The New York Times cited top administration officials on Saturday that budget projections for the Afghan war will cost US taxpayers at least $1 million per soldier, per year.

Top US commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal urged Washington to send tens of thousands of more troops to the war-torn country three months ago.

President Barack Obama has been dithering about McChrystal's request over the troop surge.

The new estimate for the cost of war in Afghanistan will cancel out the $26 billion savings projected for a 2010 troop withdrawal in Iraq, said the report.

Under this scenario, the overall military budget could rise as high as $734 billion. The highest annual military budget during the Bush administration was $667 billion, it added.

In 2006, Congressional researchers estimated that the accumulated costs for each soldier in Afghanistan would be about $390,000. The sharp rise in costs reflects the increase in mine-resistant troop carriers and surveillance equipment, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by Travis, 5:20 pm | link | 5 comments |

Peace awards spotlight Afghan women's efforts

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Washington Post
By Mary Jordan

Suraya Pakzad was 12 when she saw a gunman kill the headmistress of her Afghan school because the woman taught girls and refused to wear a head scarf. A few weeks later, a rocket smashed into the school and killed a student sitting near her, another warning for girls not to learn.

Now 39 and a celebrity known for her courageous work to further women's rights in Afghanistan, Pakzad sat in a grand Washington hall Wednesday night where she was being honored with a new local prize for female peacemakers, tears welling in her intense brown eyes when asked about her own safety at home.

"During the night, sometimes I am scared," said the mother of six who runs secret shelters for abused women and runaway child brides. "Sometimes I think if they come to get me in my house, it will be hard for my children to see it."

As Washington debates its future in Afghanistan and as U.S. military planners weigh war-college terms like counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, Pakzad worries that a U.S. withdrawal from her homeland would mean more girls enduring more horrors.

"It would be devastating," she said of the U.S. military pullout that many Afghanis fear is coming. Even if President Obama increases the number of troops, she said, that alone will not bring a solution: "I don't believe war -- fighting -- produces a winner." She said Afghanistan is sliding deeper into poverty and that people in her country badly need jobs and the opportunity to build stability.
posted by Travis, 6:07 pm | link | 0 comments |

Taleban say foreign journalist abducted in Afghan East

Monday, November 09, 2009

AIP

The Taleban announced that they had captured a foreign national, who had entered their area in Konar Province [in eastern Afghanistan] illegally.

A spokesman for the Salafi Taleban, operating under the Taleban's Islamic Emirate, Qari Mohammad Taher Salafi, told the Afghan Islamic Press [AIP]: "They [Salafi Taleban] do not know who the foreign national is who was detained by their mojahedin in Watapor District of Konar Province on 6 November. He [the journalist] says that he is a Norwegian journalist. After a thorough investigation, they will give details to the media."

Salafi added: "If it is proved that the abducted person is really a journalist then they will treat him well."

Qari Salafi said treating journalists well and protecting them was their duty, but entering the Taleban's area intentionally was a violation.

Qari Salafi told the AIP that no conditions had been set for his release and they would announce it to the media after the completion of the investigation.

Qari Mohammad Taher Salafi, who always briefs the media about the activities of their [Salafi] Taleban, said he did not know the nationality of the abducted person and the conditions set for his release.

Meanwhile, a local Salafi Taleban spokesman, Qari Dawat, told journalists that the abducted person was a citizen of Norway and was a journalist. The withdrawal of all the Norwegian troops from Afghanistan and the release of 10 Taleban [prisoners] are the conditions set for the release of the abducted journalist.

Qari Mohammad Taher Salafi said he knew nothing about these conditions.
posted by Travis, 11:23 pm | link | 1 comments |

Something positive

The Germans have been getting a bad wrap here lately. With the bombing of countless civilians and loss of their own military casualties, they are not too popular on the home front. But while on assignment for der Spiegel this week, I witness some good work that the Germans are doing.

One of there deployments based in Kabul is mentoring the first ever Afghan National Army Band. The Germans are giving the Afghans lessons in Beethoven, Bach and Strauss! And the Afghans aren't that bad.

Maybe we'll get them to open for White City at our next North American tour.......


posted by Travis, 11:22 pm | link | 0 comments |

Naughty Naughty

(Xinhua) -- A scandal hit the Czech army on Monday when two commanders of Czech elite troops wore Nazi symbols on their helmets during their mission in Afghanistan, Czech daily MF Dnes reported.

"Such a case cannot be tolerated," Czech Defense Minister Martin Bartak said, having decided to kick them out of service and severely punish them.

Lieutenant Jan Cermak wore the SS Dirlewanger brigade, and sergeant Hynek Matonoha wore the symbol of the 9th SS panzer division Hohenstaufen.

The SS units were the cruelest of German dictator Adolf Hitler's armed forces, which actively exterminated civil population of occupied countries during the Second World War.

Even today, it is a crime to boast their emblems in the Czech Republic as well as in most European countries, Bartak said.

Both men, having served in Afghan's Logar province, were decorated for bravery on Friday after they returned home from the mission.
posted by Travis, 11:05 pm | link | 6 comments |

An Accident just waiting to happen

posted by Travis, 10:41 pm | link | 0 comments |

While Afghanistan drops into dispair, Iran rears its ugly head again....

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Al Jazeera:

Security forces have clashed with opposition protesters as thousands of Iranians gathered on the streets of the capital, Tehran, to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the US embassy.

Police used batons and tear gas to disperse several hundred activists who had gathered at Haft-e-Tir square on Wednesday to demonstrate against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, witnesses said.

Our correspondent in Tehran said: "The phone lines have been cut and we cannot access email from our offices, but what we are hearing and seeing from pictures being fed from the streets of Tehran are thousands of anti-government protesters who have been chanting pro-Mir Hossein Mousavi slogans and "death to the dictator" as well.

Outside the now-closed US embassy, many more Iranians gathered chanting "Death to America", "Death to England" and "Death to Israel".

Iranian student activists entered the US embassy on November 4, 1979, taking 52 Americans hostage in response to Washington's refusal to handover Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah deposed by the Islamic Revolution.

The hostages were held for 444 days before their release was secured.
posted by Travis, 11:51 pm | link | 0 comments |

Everyone is hailing it a Victory!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Taliban say the canceled runoff election in Afghanistan proves that their efforts to derail the vote with threats and attacks were successful.

The Islamist militant group issued a statement that the first round was marred by fraud and Karzai won a runoff vote by default after his only challenger dropped out saying that the election could not be free or fair.

According to a statement posted on the Taliban Web site, "Our brave mujahidin were able to disrupt the entire process."

The Taliban said their recent attack on a guest house filled with U.N. election workers showed that "even they are not safe in Kabul."
posted by Travis, 4:27 pm | link | 0 comments |

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM RANKING

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières

20 October 2009

Political power grabs dealt press freedom a great disservice again this year. A military coup caused Fiji (152nd) to fall 73 places. Soldiers moved into Fijian news rooms for several weeks and censored articles before they were published, while foreign journalists were deported.

The authoritarianism of existing governments, for example in Sri Lanka (162nd) and Malaysia (131st), prevented journalists from properly covering sensitive subjects such as corruption or human rights abuses. The Sri Lankan government had a journalist sentenced to 20 years in prison and forced dozens of others to flee the country.

War and terrorism wrought havoc and exposed journalists to great danger. Afghanistan (149th) is sapped not only by Taliban violence and death threats, but also by unjustified arrests by the security forces.

Despite having dynamic news media, Pakistan (159th) is crippled by murders of journalists and the aggressiveness of both the Taliban and sectors of the military. It shared (with Somalia) the world record for journalists killed during the period under review.

The Asian countries that least respected press freedom were, predictably, North Korea, one of the “infernal trio” at the bottom of the rankings, Burma, which still suffers from prior censorship and imprisonment, and Laos, an unchanging dictatorship where no privately-owned media are permitted.

The media in China (168th) are evolving rapidly along with the rest of the country but it continues to have a very poor ranking because of the frequency of imprisonment, especially in Tibet, Internet censorship and the nepotism of the central and provincial authorities.

In the good news section, Maldives (51st) climbed 53 places thanks to a successful democratic transition while Bhutan (70th) rose another four places thanks to further efforts in favour of media diversity.


Check your country ranking on: http://www.rsf.org/spip.php?page=article&id_article=34729
posted by Travis, 3:13 pm | link | 0 comments |

Now My blog has been translated into Italian!!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

posted by Travis, 11:47 pm | link | 5 comments |

Congratulations Mr President

Well their you have it. Afghanistan has a new President of Default. It is madness and absolutely the wrong direction that this country needs to be facing in.

But as someone put it today: "You can understand why such a crazy outcome has eventuated. We have never had fraudulent elections before, we have never had a run off [2nd round] and we have never tested our constitution [8 years old]. Its a learning process with a big, LONG curve!"

posted by Travis, 11:29 pm | link | 1 comments |

Tripping on the home straight.....

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The announcement came out today that Dr Abdullah will not partake in the 2nd round of elections. I think the quote in Al-Jazeera today summed it up perfectly:

"One educated Afghan said to me that one of the great things that the West has always boasted about after the days of the Taliban, was bringing democracy to Afghanistan. [But] many Afghans are asking what sort of democracy results in second-round election with only one candidate."

Abdullah speaking at the press conference in Kabul today.
posted by Travis, 5:48 pm | link | 237 comments |