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Kabul Korrespondence

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

A Rough Week in Kabul

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hey everyone.

I don't write these reports to worry people. It’s more that I want you to have the real information and not the sensationalised version that you maybe reading from the comfort of your armchair.

So to clarify:

Yesterday, a German woman was kidnapped while dining at a local restaurant in Western Kabul. I have spent many an afternoon cruising these hoods on my motorbike and never had any problems. We are all surprised that it has happened within Kabul. Reports are coming through that she has been rescued......

Earlier this week a British private security contractor was murdered while carrying $200,000

And also this week a convoy of German police was attacked by a suicide bomber and this incident resulted in the death of 3 Germans

And on a positive note, 2 Korean women were released last week, bring the total to 2 executed, 2 released and 19 still in captivity.

Just to let you know I'm currently outside of Kabul.

posted by Travis, 7:28 pm | link | 10 comments |

Right Now I'm Feeling Like a Proud Father

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I am very proud to announce that I helped secure the position for Fardin Waezi as the new UN as chief photographer for Afghanistan (UNAMA). The post was previously held by another Aina Photo graduate Farzana who has now moved onto a managerial position.

Fardin has been with Aina Photo since the first photojournalism class in 2002. He graduated and decided to stay on at Aina Photo as administrator and in charge of our archives. For the last 6 years Fardin was the cogs in the Aina Photo motor, when Fardin was absent, Aina Photo didn't run smoothly.

He will be greatly missed and we hope that his new path brings him all the professional credibility he deserves.

Other recent students achievements are:

Aman is now working full time as a photojournalist Noorin TV station

Maiwand has secured part time work as a photographer at Nangahar TV station

Mariam is being sponsored to attend a workshop on security and development of Afghanistan in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in September

Siar, Fardin and Mariah are being sponsored to attend a youth forum in Toulouse, France in September

I am very proud of all of them and wish them success on their new endeavours.

Well done to all!

posted by Travis, 4:29 pm | link | 5 comments |

I'll Have A Bloody Mary With My Kebab Please......

Care of the Australian Embassy

Dear Australians

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has reissued its travel advice for Afghanistan. The overall level of the advice has not changed. Travel advice has been reissued to note recent credible reports that terrorists are planning to lure Western journalists to Afghanistan with offers of interviews in order to take them hostage. Australian journalists should consider this information carefully particularly if they are considering offers of interviews from extremist groups. The travel advice may be viewed at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Afghanistan

Damn it!
That ruins my weekend at "Club-Cave" that I'd planned for next week!
posted by Travis, 3:15 pm | link | 1 comments |

A friend in need

Hey everyone,

A past student of Aina Photo, Najibullah is very sick at the moment. Hes has lost one kidney and his second one is not working well at all. Recently we passed around a hat to put towards his trip to india, where he can get better treatment than here and at a more affordable price too.

When I wrote in a past email about my fathers health, I recieved a lot of support from all corners of the earth. I relayed these well wishes to my old man and I think it helped him a little to know people were thinking of him.

So again I ask you to keep Najibullah in your thoughts and we hope he gets the opperation he needs soon, so he can come back and work in photojournalism again.
This is an image Najibullah took while working in Kabul.

posted by Travis, 11:38 am | link | 1 comments |

Afghanistan Mac Service Centre Ready To Open

Saturday, August 11, 2007

There are only so many Macs in Kabul, and this week I fixed two of them. Not a huge feat, but worth a mention is a country where the locals think a Mac is some kind of teleporter from the Enterprise spaceship. So I now ask my network and the extended galaxy beyond my network: If anyone has the email address of Steve Jobs (Mac Daddy), Can you please pass this blog post onto him.

"Steve! If your out there and listening..... We need a Mac store and service centre in Kabul! Its only a matter of time before the Afghans catch onto the craze and are demanding Mac Book Pros and iPods. Well actually they can already get iPods from Bagram Military black market. (See the potential is already here!) So Steve lets open a Mac shop together. You've got one in Tehran, Islamabad and New Delhi. I guarantee that Kabul is the next Mac-Explosion!"

awaiting first shipment.......
posted by Travis, 10:08 pm | link | 1 comments |

The Lucky Ones

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I am proud to announce that Aina Photo received a very healthy donation from the Lonely Planet Foundation. We used this money to purchase new lenses for our digital cameras, memory cards, laptops, hard drives, sensor cleaning kits, wireless internet hub and some other digital trinkets. Due to the lack of professional equipment here in Afghanistan, I flew to Tehran and bought all the gear in this polluted yet fascinating city.

We also received laptops bags from Crumpler and an A3 printer from Canon. So we are slowly getting better equiped. Yesterday I presented the new equipment to the students and gave them full camera kits to go out and shoot with.

I also bought a fridge so we can have cold water.

Big Big Thank you's going out to all that support the work we do here.
posted by Travis, 10:49 am | link | 4 comments |

Ok I was wrong. Here is the real news.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Copy this into you browser for your own amusement:


The American Information Resource Center (AIRC) is pleased to launch its first Newsletter for the month of July, 2007. This monthly publication will keep our audiences abreast of the latest issues in the U.S. as well as AIRC activities. The publication will address four thematic areas: Human Rights, Rule of Law, Economic Development and Women's rights.
posted by Travis, 11:07 pm | link | 0 comments |

One mans life in comparison to anothers

Monday, August 06, 2007

>Today President Karzi and Bush met to discuss the current crisis with
21 Koreans being held hostage.
>Today 3 Afghans were executed by the Taliban because they work for the NGO:
Mine Detection and Dog Centre (MDC)
>The Karzai/Bush meetings made front page, the Korean crisis was mentioned
as the main reason for the rendezvous.
>The 3 Afghans were helping to rebuild Afghanistan and make it a safer place.
>The Evangelistic Koreans were in an Islamic Republic preaching the word of Jesus.
>The Taliban killed the Afghans because they were working for a
international aid organisation.
>The Korean were taken because they were careless. Hiring a bus on the
most dangerous road in Afghanistan with no security.
>The Afghan victims were last contacted Sunday evening. However,
their cell-phones ceased to respond this morning.
>Two male Koreans were executed. The rest are women and the Taliban have
a history of not killing female hostages.
>The trio was executed last night, their bodies were dumped on the outskirts
of Panjwayee district.
>The Korean Government refuses to pay the ransom for their citizens release.
>Eighteen workers MDC were kidnapped by Taliban in the province of Ghazni last month.
However, they were later released.
posted by Travis, 8:48 pm | link | 2 comments |

What they dont tell you.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pajhwok is the most respected AFGHAN news agency here. Everyday we check the local news against the international news to see whats being told, and whats not. Below is the front page headlines for today:

• Six policemen, five insurgents killed in gun-battles
• Pakistan stresses check on re-entry of refugees
• President Karzai leaves for United States
• Wolesi Jirga passes draft bill on police reforms
• Govt denies large-scale civilian casualties in Baghran air raid
• ANA soldier among three dead in Helmand
• Two held on suspicion of blowing up police vehicle
• Ex-commander, son gunned down in Maidan Wardak
• Nine civilians perish in Parachinar suicide bombing
• Two civilians dead in suicide attack on NATO convoy
• Taliban claim destroying two military vehicles
• 4 soldiers, 10 miscreants killed in Miranshah shootout
• US officials optimistic about situation in Afghanistan (THIS IS MY FAVOURITE)
• CIA responsible for training, recruiting Osama: Ghani
• Bush signs bill placing curbs on US aid to Pakistan
• Roadside bomb kills three policemen in Kunar
• Several key Taliban commanders killed in Helmand: Azimi

Keep up the good work guys!
posted by Travis, 10:42 am | link | 3 comments |

We Got Competition!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

We dont know much about em....But from what we hear these guys are mean.

No thats us the Kabul knights......

These guys.....take a closer look, these guys actually have got brakes!

They make the Taliban look like a buch of girl guides on a cookie drive.

Anyone who has any info on these Peruian bikers, please let us know ASAP. Otherwise we will have to call in for back up. (Thanx for the word up Pete)
posted by Travis, 1:48 pm | link | 6 comments |

Exhibition By Jonas

We were lucky enough to have vetran photojournalist Jonas Dovydenas hold his current touring exhibtion at Aina Culture and Media Centre.

Janos has been coming to Afghanistan to photograph the plight of the country since 1985.
He has a extensive collection of images of both Afghans and the different foreign forces that visited this country in the last 20 years.
We had a great turn out, on a beautiful sunny Kabul day.
The highlight was when a representative from the Afghan National Gallery announced that they wanted to acquire the collection for their archives.
Congratualtions to Jonas.
posted by Travis, 12:15 pm | link | 5 comments |