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Kabul Korrespondence

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

New Vid from Combat Comms

Monday, April 26, 2010

Work in progress from those guys who dont aspire to become superstars like Banksy:


TLO Evicition Party from Combat Comms on Vimeo.
posted by Travis, 11:03 pm | link | 1 comments |

Anti-war graffiti group become Afghanistan's 'Talibanksy'

by Lynne O'Donnell Mon Apr 26, 4:24 am ET
KABUL (AFP) – On walls around Afghanistan's scrappy capital, where million-dollar mansions line rutted roads, anonymous graffiti artists are daubing their disapproving take on the devastating cost of war.

Styled after the anonymous British vandal-artist Banksy, Kabul's streetwise stealth stencillers go by the moniker "Talibanksy", a reference to the Islamist Taliban who have been waging war in Afghanistan for almost nine years.

The street art forms a commentary on the cost in blood and treasure of the war, which has brought 126,000 US and NATO troops to Afghanistan and kills about 2,000 Afghan civilians a year, according to the UN.

Black, spray-painted silhouettes of soldiers and dollar signs, poppies, helicopters and tanks, and children running hand-in-hand began appearing in downtown Kabul a few months ago.

Some show the shadow of a helmeted soldier holding an assault rifle, inside a red circle with a line through it. Others have a silhouetted gun-toting trooper and a dollar sign joined by an equals symbol.

Or simply the words: Cost Of War.

Financially the war is estimated to cost some 100 million dollars a day, according to US media reports.

The human cost to foreign forces so far this year is close to 170, according to the icasualties.org website which keeps tally and says that of the 1,737 who have died since the war began in 2001, 1,051 were Americans.

The people behind the anti-war graffiti call themselves Combat Communications, and claim to be "a small anonymous group of international artists founded last year with the sole aim of advocating/promoting free expression".

According to a statement, they wish to remain anonymous and call their work "social and politically driven graphics".

"This form of self-expression is open to anyone. The youth of Kabul have no real outlet for artistic expression," it says, adding: "Do they want it?"

The Westerners behind Combat Communications declined to speak to AFP, saying they wanted to keep a low profile while they developed their strategy.

Their graffiti appear across the central residential and commercial districts of Kabul, alongside spray-painted advertisements for translation services, real estate agents, plumbers, septic tank cleaners and roofers.

Since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has begun moving towards democracy -- with the second parliamentary election set for September -- and freedom of expression is protected by the constitution.

Yet as the insurgency moves deep into its ninth year and the US-led counter-insurgency revs up with foreign troop numbers set to peak by August at 150,000, Kabul remains a city scarred by war and corruption.

Open drains run alongside the main roads, few sidestreets are paved, traffic control is derisory and public transport virtually non-existent.

Two-metre-high concrete blast walls surround most public buildings and embassies, and residential neighbourhoods feature the "narco-tecture" of garishly-tiled, multi-storey mansions most believe are built with the proceeds of the three-billion-dollar-a-year illicit drugs trade.

A cloud of filth from diesel-powered vehicles sits atop a city surrounded on three sides by the peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains, and piles of garbage are picked over by beggars and animals alike.

Consumer price inflation is said to be around 20 percent, helicopter gunships provide an almost constant overhead clatter, and Afghans desperate to leave their country for a new life form long queues at visa offices.

Into this harsh landscape, the sudden appearance of modern street art has added a touch of colour and controversy -- and the blast walls provide the perfect canvas.

Talibanksy's tags are not yet as ubiquitous as Banksy's guerilla art became in London and other British cities over the last decade.

Nor is it as sophisticated, so far presenting little more than simple anti-war messages and slogans, in contrast to the infinitely more clever, caustic and creative Banksy murals.

And whereas Banksy branched out to the US, Australia and the Middle East, becoming an international phenomenon and wealthy in the process, Combat Communications appears to be starting out with more modest ambitions.

The statement contains an anti-capitalist message, hitting out at the massive billboards that dominate city intersections, advertising telecommunications firms or warning against involvement in the drugs trade.

"'Selling the peace' AKA (also known as) winning the war, has also become a big industry. Propaganda is everywhere from counter-narcotic campaigns to counter-terrorism to army recruitment. You can't move without some form of visual purposeful persuasion burning a hole in your soul," it says.

"Social and politically driven graphics, AKA street art, can evoke thought and stimulate discussion.

"Watch your public space," the statement says.
posted by Travis, 10:53 pm | link | 0 comments |

Introducing Combat Communications Video Channel

Check THIS out !!!!

vimeo.com/combatcomms/videos
posted by Travis, 10:53 pm | link | 1 comments |

The latest weapon on the war against Terror

check out this bad boy:

posted by Travis, 10:50 pm | link | 16 comments |

BUSTED !

Police in the Afghan capital seized thousands of bottles of alcohol from restaurants and bars frequented by foreigners, local media reported Thursday.

Alcohol is illegal in the Islamic country though some bars and restaurants in Kabul do serve drinks to the thousands of foreigners based in the city.

Nine people, including women and foreigners, were arrested in the raids earlier this week, the Outlook newspaper quoted police as saying.

Outlook quoted Brigadier General Syed Adbul Ghafaar Syedzada, head of Kabul's criminal police branch, said 6,312 bottles of alcohol had been seized, 5,198 of them beer.

Among those arrested were seven women from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, Libya and Afghanistan, the newspaper said.

It quoted Syedzada as saying such establishments "mislead the young and encourage them to act immorally".

Bar owners in Kabul have said they pay enormous bribes to police to remain open.

For more in depth go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/julius-cavendish-atmosphere-killer-as-expat-refuge-raided-1945060.html
posted by Travis, 10:47 pm | link | 0 comments |

Nice work Al Jaz [Qais]

posted by Travis, 10:47 pm | link | 0 comments |

The Super Kabul Lives !!!!!

I lent my 'sleeping' Super Kabul [my first bike] to my good friend Ellisa, so she could learn how to ride. She has posted a kooky video of her adventures here:

http://www.vimeo.com/10868256
posted by Travis, 10:46 pm | link | 0 comments |

Jihad Janes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

posted by Travis, 11:18 pm | link | 0 comments |

REAL journalism

posted by Travis, 11:18 pm | link | 0 comments |

Got to love those conspiracy theories

posted by Travis, 11:17 pm | link | 0 comments |

Pioneers of Rock

I was in communication with the correspondent from the Guardian the other day in relation to this article published on the band Kabul Dreams:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/31/kabul-rock-band-afghanistan

and there is a review by someone who obviously never saw them play:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/mar/31/review-afghan-rock-kabul-dreams

After the article was published conversation flourished about the 'first ever Afghan rock band'

In fact Kabul Dreams are the 2nd ever rock band in Afghanistan
first was "the Stars" and was formed in early 70's

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2009/11/
Scroll down to almost the bottom for reference

and they not the only rock band, technically.......
if you want to include metal in that definition then there is another band called District Unknown

But KD are still the best!
posted by Travis, 11:17 pm | link | 5 comments |

And the Winner is:


 
Me at a drug burning ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Anti-Narcotics


posted by Travis, 11:16 pm | link | 0 comments |

Disturbing, but a must see for EVERYONE

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

posted by Travis, 9:38 pm | link | 2 comments |