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Kabul Korrespondence

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

Much Appreciated

Friday, October 31, 2008

I recieved many emails of condolences this week. All of them from the goodness of peoples hearts. I want to thank you to you all, I appreciated your thoughts and concerns. I wish I could grant you your wishes that I will leave Afghanistan and come home, but this will not be the case. We can let the actions of a few intimidate the work we have come here to do. Jason's death will not pass in vain.

(Excuse my spelling Jeremy, there is no spell check in Tajikistan)
posted by Travis, 6:53 pm | link | 1 comments |

Last Moments With My Friend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I had the priviledge to ride with Jason one week, before his death. It was a special ride because we had our largest number of members ride together. In all 11 bikes hit the road that day. It might not sound like a lot to you, but to get 11 bikes out on the roads around Kabul is a challenge and a risk in may ways.

Jason was always happiest when he was on his bike. I think for him more than anyone else in the club, it was his chance to escape work and lifes woes and be free.

Jason was our most dedicated rider: cooking breakfast at 8am (with Marius's help). Always carriing tools on the back of his bike. And he seldomly rode without the company of a female friend.

Jason was our most experienced rider, we would count on him to fix bikes and we knicked named him "Kickstart", because he could always start a bike after everyone else had given up trying.

Jason loved to go fast (I heard stories of 300kms an hour on his ninja bike in SA), so he was always at the front of the pack. But I think he not only did this because of speed, but also because he was a natural leader and guide to us all.

Jason was always very careful about security when we rode. Never wanting to spend too long in one location. He was a risk taker, but took security seriously. That is why it is such a tragedy that he died due to insecurity.

The KKMC will never be able to replace this member and we will conduct a ride of respect for him on Friday the 7th of November. Also on Tuesday 28 October at 9.00am CET (11.00am Bahrain time), work and operations in the DHL (MENAT) region will come to a brief halt, as we hold a minute of silence in the memory of Jason Bresler.

White City played a concert in Dushanbe on Saturday and it rocked! I know Jason loved our band and Im sure, wherever he is now, he was dancing to the music.


posted by Travis, 5:54 pm | link | 8 comments |

KKMC Member Assassinated

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Information is tricking through that my very close friend, country director of DHL and the fisrt member of the KKMC has been gunned down in front of his office in central Kabul.

Reports are mixed, unclear and uncertain, but we do know that Jason from South Africa was killed by gunman this morning along with some other foriegners.....

I am currently in Dushanbe Tajikistan on tour with White City. We will dedicated tonight's concert to Jason and play "Road to Hell" in his honour.

I will write more when I know more and when I have more head space to deal with this great loss

posted by Travis, 5:01 pm | link | 7 comments |

Convenience Store

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An anitdote from a fiend who works at NATO HQ:

"So I had to go collect my visa from the Tajik embassy this morning, and realising that I was going to be standing around in a pretty long queue for a while decided to buy some cigarettes. I reached this decision as I was leaving NATO, so on coming out of the gate I went left and walked into the first shop that I could see selling smokes (about 200 metres from the gate). As I only had 20 dollars the shop owner sent his boy away for change.

This short interlude allowed me to observe some of the shop's passing customers, and he clearly caters for those with all sorts of proclivities... moments later an old man, probably only 50 but looked 75, came in, said something very briefly, and immediately from somewhere behind the counter a sealed-bag with about 15 grams of a resinous substance was produced.

The old duffer hands over what looks to be in the region of 80 afs ($US1.60) - and by now I'm paying attention. So I try to catch what he is saying - he asks simply "is it good?". "Very good" comes the reply and satisfied, the coffin dodger hobbles away on his stick. "Is he sick?", I ask, trying to ascertain if this is "medicinal" opium or just hash. "No, he's not sick - he just wants to relax". I must have looked confused as he then clarifies - "charras" (hashish).
posted by Travis, 11:46 am | link | 0 comments |

Tajikistan Tour Only Days Away

White City would like to welcome its newest member: Maral from Iran. Due to security restrictions our beloved lead vocalist Pernille could not make it on the tour of Tajikistan. :-( But we were fortunate enough to get Maral as a replacement. :-)

The band has been working hard jamming every night on new songs plus some covers for the Dushanbe crowd.

Tour dates are from the 25th of October till the 2nd of November, so if you have any friends in Dushanbe let them know: Combat Rock is coming to town!

Our man in Dushanbe: Saidbek has been running around mad organising gigs for us. So far we have a weird collection of venues: Irish Bar, Opera Hall, Cultural Centre, Aluminium Factory and a Cotton Picker Co-operative!

We are also hoping to hook up with some local Tajik talent and jam with them. Hopefully our Progressive Lo-Fi sound will go down well in Dushanbe.....

I know in the past I preached never to use myspace or facebook, but it seems our band has a site anyways, so feel free to check it out: http://www.myspace.com/whitecitykabul

Rock N Roll aint noise pollution!

posted by Travis, 10:31 am | link | 0 comments |

KKMC and the BBC

Couple of months ago a friend came to Kabul and to do a story on "Afghan Tourism" (heheheh) Anyway, check out who got their bikes on BBC.


Respect to the KKMC
posted by Travis, 10:30 am | link | 1 comments |

Beard Brother's Bands

Saturday, October 18, 2008

WHITE CITY is about to head of on their first tour (Tajikistan). Details to come.
In the mean time my brothers band ROXY MORON is playing another gig for a bunch of short-ass jockies!

Support independent music.

posted by Travis, 5:19 pm | link | 1 comments |

Bamiyan or Bust

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Last week myself and a couple of other internationals jumped on our trusty steeds and hit the road for Bamiyan, one of the most stunning and historically significant sites in Afghanistan.
I'd love to write the whole story here, but A. its too long and B. its going to be published, so you can read it in classic analogue form soon. In the mean time here is a summary to keep you going.

The trip was full of mishaps, mayhem, madness and moments of joy. -Being detained by the Police for not having permits to wear Afghan Clothes (ChowaKameis).

-Being escorted by Armed Police, which included us paying (bribe) for the petrol.

-One bike sliding out on a dusty corner and breaking the clutch, therefore disabling the bike. Two riders went ahead and the 3rd continued on safely with the police escort.

-The 3rd rider was abandoned by the police at a police checkpoint 10 kms up the road. He salvaged parts for his bike and made it back to Kabul before nightfall. We had no idea we lost a rider. We were glad when we talked to him and knew he was home and safe.

-Next morning I found myself a local treasure: Afghan 4x4!
-We headed out of Bamiyan in the direction of Band-e-Amir, but had to stop and ask the locals for directions.

-After a breathtaking ride to these majestic torquoise lakes my bike broke down no more than 500 metres from our final destination.
-Lucky the day was saved by "Dowaud the Dude" who repaired my bike with some string and duct tape!

-It was worth the ride, Band-e-Amir should be the 8th Wonder of the World.

Thanx to Frauke and Jon.

posted by Travis, 11:13 pm | link | 0 comments |

Taliban kill British Christian aid worker in Afghanistan

By Amir Shah

KABUL, Afghanistan - Taliban gunmen on a motorbike killed a Christian aid worker in the Afghan capital on Monday, and the militant group said it had targeted the woman because she was proselytizing.

The woman, a British national, worked with handicapped Afghans and was killed in the western part of Kabul as she was walking alone around 8 a.m., police said.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the slaying, saying the woman was killed because she was spreading Christianity.

"This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to people of Afghanistan," Mujahid told the Associated Press. "Our (leaders) issued a decree to kill this woman. This morning our people killed her in Kabul."

The woman's organization - SERVE, Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises - describes itself as a Christian charity registered in Britain. The group's Web page says the charity has been working with Afghan refugees since 1980 in Pakistan.

"SERVE Afghanistan's purpose is to express God's love and bring hope by serving the people of Afghanistan, especially the needy, as we seek to address personal, social and environmental needs," SERVE's Web page says.
posted by Travis, 11:13 pm | link | 4 comments |

Afghan Tautology of the day

"Incompetent Chowkidar"
posted by Travis, 11:10 pm | link | 0 comments |

Teaching at the Cure Hospital

This week I conducted a course in the Cure Hospital in Kabul on the subjects of journalism and photography.
The students are lucky participants in a program run by CARE International. After finishing their University degrees they were chosen to do an extra year study at the CARE hospital.
As part of their curriculum they must make reports on patient conditions. To improve their reporting skills I was invited to teach them on the finer details of writing articles and taking pictures to back up these articles.
The Students were bombarded with information, yet seemed to absorb it very easily.
At the end of the course all students were presented with a certificate of participation.

Well done!

posted by Travis, 10:34 pm | link | 3 comments |

Columbine reaches Kabul

Friday, October 10, 2008

Student's bodyguards shoot high school teacher

Police arrest men accused of shooting an educational manager at school

THE BODYGUARDS of a student in Kabul have shot and injured an educational manager after he demanded to know where the student’s books were, officials said.

The student, who studies at Saidal Nasiri High School in the capital, is now in police custody, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

The educational manager and other teachers at the school want to see the student and his bodyguards severely punished for the shooting.

Families have expressed concern in recent weeks about students who bring light weapons into schools in the capital.
posted by Travis, 2:50 pm | link | 0 comments |

Faith in the Intervention Withering

Thursday, October 02, 2008

War in Afghanistan lost, says UK diplomat in leaked report

The Scottish Herald, By IAN BRUCE

The British ambassador in Kabul thinks the war in Afghanistan is as good as lost and that current US military and economic strategy there is destined to fail, according to a potentially explosive report leaked yesterday by French sources.

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the UK diplomat involved, is also alleged to have said that the only practical long-term solution was for the West to support "an acceptable dictator" to unite the fractured country.

The diplomatic bombshell, immediately played down by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, came on the same day that the senior American military commander in Afghanistan called on Nato to provide more troops and other aid "as quickly as possible" in a counterinsurgency battle he said could get worse before it gets better.

The allegedly critical British summary came from direct quotations from a cable written by François Fitou, the French deputy ambassador in the Afghan capital.

Mr Fitou reported to President Sarkozy's office that Cowper-Coles believed "American strategy is destined to fail" and that the government of President Hamid Karzai had "lost all trust" among the Afghan population.

"Our public statements should not delude us over the fact that the insurrection, while incapable of winning a military victory, nevertheless has the capacity to make life increasingly difficult, including in the capital.

"The presence - especially the military presence - of the coalition is part of the problem, not the solution. The foreign forces are ensuring the survival of a regime which would collapse without them. In doing so, they are slowing down and complicating an eventual exit from the crisis."

posted by Travis, 3:06 pm | link | 4 comments |