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Kabul Korrespondence

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

Another Perspective

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When visitors come to Kabul, I assess their street knowledge and decide whether or not to invite them for a ride around town. Shannon seemed pretty straight, but she proved me wrong.

Living here for over 2 years now I easily forget what I do on a daily basis is special and sometimes mad.

(I think one day I will write the memoirs of our motorbike riding antics in Afghanistan.) Publishers.....?

So to read someone elses observations of our adventures is in some ways humbling and in some ways concerning.....

check it out:



posted by Travis, 9:21 am | link | 3 comments |

Proud to Announce (x 2)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hey all.

All six members of White City spent one week stuck in a rudimentary studio laying down the tracks for our first demo. (Thanx Awaz Productions)

After some vacations and minor delays due to detours of the femme fatal kind, our beloved guitarist; Archie has finished mixing 2 of the 3 tracks.

So please click on the link below and either listen there or download (free) the tunes.


We would love to hear what you think of our works in progress. If any of you have contacts in the dog eat dog world of music, please pass it on to them. If you don't, then pass it onto someone you think may appreciate Combat Rock!



PS: Oh yeh, the other announcement is this is the 300th post I have logged since starting this blog in 2006.

Rock on KK!
posted by Travis, 6:25 pm | link | 4 comments |

Recession Free Zone

As the world spirals into ever deeper economical depression, one country thats seems to have escaped this self induced black hole is sunny Afghanistan.

With all the billions of promised aid and military spending allocated for this year, it looks like there will be more 'rebuilding' and more jobs than in previous years.

On top of this, the 'powers that be' in the south are expecting another bumper crop of opium; meaning that from the farmer to the drug lord, prosperity will envelope the economy.

But there are still the millions of Afghans that wont benefit from all these cash injections.
1000s will freeze this winter.
1000's will die from starvation.
1000's will die from lack of medical services
And most will not see an improvement in their lifestyles since 2001.....

So as the rich get richer, the middle get fatter and the poor get poorer, I ask:
How bad is this recession for most?
Who will really suffer?
Who are just complaining cause they have a opportunity to.....
posted by Travis, 12:00 pm | link | 0 comments |

Mistaken identity..or not?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last week I received a email from an old friend from Australia. They talked about their life and what they had read on my blog etc etc.

Then they mentioned that at one stage they and another friend thought I was a undercover cop!

After 7 on the road, I returned to Australia to set up my photo-business. In the 2 years I was there, I tried to shoot some of the more interesting parts of Australian culture. One of these was the protest or left movement.

So through people I met some people, hanged out, went to meetings, went to protests and made some ok reportages (stories).

In this time I always felt that the people around me didn't really make me feel so welcome. I mean they were nice to me and we had some good times, but I never got close to any of them.....

Now I realise that this cop rumour must have been circulating the scene.....
Can you imagine me as a nark!

So I post this blog to say thank you to all those I met between 2004-2006.
To the ones who thought I was a cop, I say: "Come on!"
To the ones who didn't, I say: "Thank you, respect to our friendship."

Just last year I was offered (informally) a potential job by a Western government to work as a 'gatherer of information' in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. I told the man that I was flattered by the offer, but due to my career in journalism I would have to decline, as it would compromise my work ethics.

Still it makes me think: inside peoples minds what do they think about other people? About me? I mean for those who still are not convinced. I could be writing this blog entry now as a attempt at reverse psychology. To trick them into thinking that I'm exposing myself, only to hide my real identity even more!

To go deeper undercover. To write a mist of misleading tales. Even to the extent of spending over 2 years in Afghanistan, writing 1000s upon 1000s of words just to cloak the trail of what I'm really doing here.....

It's not impossible. Hell I'm even starting to convince myself!

Mum how well do you know your son?
Friends how well do you think you know me?
posted by Travis, 8:55 am | link | 7 comments |

Money can buy anything........


TAGAB VALLEY, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. commanders on Tuesday traveled to a poor Afghan village and distributed $40,000 to relatives of 15 people killed in a U.S. raid, including a known militant commander. The Americans also apologized for any civilians killed in the operation.

The issue of civilian deaths is increasingly sensitive in Afghanistan, with President Hamid Karzai accusing the U.S. of killing civilians in three separate cases over the last month. Karzai has repeatedly warned the U.S. and NATO, saying such deaths undermine his government and the international mission.

In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates echoed Karzai's concerns, telling a Senate committee that "civilian casualties are doing us enormous harm in Afghanistan."

As U.S. commanders paid villagers near 15 newly dug graves, Karzai met Tuesday in the capital with relatives of some of those killed. He told the villagers he has given the U.S. and NATO one month to respond to a draft agreement calling for increased Afghan participation in military operations.
posted by Travis, 8:54 am | link | 0 comments |

What a world we live in.......

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A suspected suicide car bomb has killed at least 14 civilians in the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses say.

The attack on Saturday was apparently aimed at a group of African Union peacekeepers but missed its target, they said.

The attack came just days before more troops from Uganda and Burundi were due to arrive to boost the 1,400 African Union peacekeepers currently deployed in Somalia.

Mogadishu's deputy governor told the AFP news agency that the bomber was a foreigner.

"We have one of his arms which is clearly showing that the suicide bomber was a foreigner," he said, explaining that the bomber's light skin tone showed he was not Somali........
posted by Travis, 9:41 pm | link | 0 comments |

Dont count your chickens until they've hatched

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Like everyone else, I held my breath when Obama announced his intention to run for President. I blew out a gust of relief when he won the election. And I inhaled a breath of fresh air when he was sworn in as the new President.

But from the perspective of someone living in a country that is 99.5% controlled by the puppet strings of the US Foreign Policy.... I'm not going to count my chickens until they have hatched.

Yes we all have hope that this will be the catalyst for a new world (not new world order). And if I had to choose a president that could make up for all the mistakes of the previous 6 Presidents (at least), it would be Obama.

But this country has been well screwed up by the US and it is going to take a lot more than different coloured skin (I do admit I'm as excited as you about booting the Anglo-Saxons out of the seat). It is going to take more than different coloured skin, a good education and some charming speeches to fix the problems we have here in sunny Afghanistan.

So Super Obama the floor is yours, show us if you're a man of words or actions.

posted by Travis, 7:31 pm | link | 6 comments |

No Comment

posted by Travis, 6:56 pm | link | 425 comments |

Only in Afghanistan

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Caught up with an Afghan friend today and he told me he had been in a accident. I asked him if he was ok and what happened?

"oh I'm fine thank you. I was driving a long and this pick-up ran up the back of me and then sped off. As it passed me I noticed it was the Police. So I chased them, but they had turned on their sirens and were weaving through the traffic faster than I could."

I asked him, so what did you do?

"Well I called my uncle who is a chief of Police. He asked me for the registration number, I told him. He identified them and called them up on the radio and ordered them to pull over."

"When I finally caught up to them, I had a little chat with them, told them they are here to protect us, not to destroy us and then run off."

posted by Travis, 7:14 pm | link | 0 comments |

Millions face starvation in Afghanistan

Friday, January 09, 2009

By James Cogan

A social catastrophe is unfolding in Afghanistan. 2008 was the seventh consecutive year of drought and poor harvests and as many as 8 to 10 million people face starvation as the harsh winter sets in and snow falls isolate rural communities. The worst affected provinces are in central and northern Afghanistan where US and NATO forces have exerted almost unchallenged control since the 2001 invasion and claim to have spent billions of dollars on reconstruction and development.

A minimum of 6 million tonnes of wheat and other cereals are needed to feed the country's population, which has swollen to nearly 30 million after the return of refugees from Pakistan and Iran. Last year just 3.5 million tonnes of cereal were produced with the entire crop being lost in some areas. Over 1.5 million animals—some 10 percent of livestock—also died due to water shortages.

posted by Travis, 6:43 pm | link | 2 comments |

Gaza: STOP!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

We all know the story.
We all know the arguments.
We all know its wrong.
So just STOP this senseless act.
STOP now.
STOP once and for all.


PS: I think the fact that the media has been banned from entering Gaza makes it clear that they are trying to hide the inhumane acts they are committing.
posted by Travis, 7:10 pm | link | 5 comments |


Well NY's eve will never be what you dream it to be in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. But still we made the most of it. Thanx to Hamayun for his venue and for everyones else's presence. Lets all hope that 2009 tops 2008 both in fun, success and peace.

posted by Travis, 7:09 pm | link | 0 comments |

Press freedom round-up 2008

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières

30 December 2008

Press freedom round-up 2008
Better figures despite a hostile climate and more Internet repression

In 2008:
60 journalists were killed
1 media assistant was killed
673 journalists were arrested
929 were physically attacked or threatened
353 media outlets were censored
29 journalists were kidnapped

1 blogger was killed
59 bloggers were arrested
45 were physically attacked
1,740 websites were blocked, shut down or suspended

For comparison, in 2007:
86 journalists were killed
20 media assistants were killed
887 journalists were arrested
1,511 were physically attacked or threatened
528 media outlets were censored
67 journalists were kidnapped

Reporters Without Borders only counted cases in which a link between the violation and the victim's work as a journalist was clearly established or very likely. The figures cover the violations the organisation learned about. They do not cover violations which the victims chose not to report (usually for security reasons). In other words, the same method was used to compile the figures as in previous years, making comparisons possible.

Reporters Without Borders comment:

"The figures may be lower than last year's but this should not mask the fact that intimidation and censorship have become more widespread, including in the west, and the most authoritarian governments have been taking an even tougher line. The quantitative improvement in certain indicators is often due to journalists becoming disheartened and turning to a less dangerous trade or going into exile. We cannot say that 60 deaths, hundreds of arrests and systematic censorship offer grounds for optimism."

Lets hope for better results at the end of 2009......

posted by Travis, 3:09 pm | link | 2 comments |