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Kabul Korrespondence

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

Cost of War

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama and Afghanistan 1 year later

I was in Afghanistan on the day they announced Obama's victory. There was a glimmer of hope, a sparkle in the eye and whispers of change within the Afghan population.

A year later the situation is no better, actually it is dramatically worse for everyone. Operation Enduring Freedom is costing the American tax payer $67 million per day [$771 per second]. International military casualties are at an all time high and an average of 3 Afghan dies every day from conflict related incidents.

Now the Taliban has a presence in more than 80% of the country. [When they offer a poor rural farmer double the salary the government does, you can't blame them for joining.]

The ace in the hand for the Taliban is the increase in civilian casualties from careless bombing raids by international forces. This waste of countless innocent lifes along with a corrupt invested government and rigged elections is slowly the ostracises the population. No one carries that sparkle in their eye anymore......
posted by Travis, 2:47 pm | link | 1 comments |

New Conspiracy Therory

I was talking to one of my fixers the other day and I asked him; Why there was such an influx of opposition groups in the north in recent months? After talking about the recent sighting of more US aircraft delivery insurgents to the north, he explained this:

-The US transports the Taliban to the north.
-They then destabilises the area.
-Then the US will move in and 'secure' the area [Cause the Germans certainly wont].
-This will force the Taliban north towards Uzbekistan [Where there is a substantial reserves of natural gas]
-Then like we have seen in Pakistan, the US will commence over the border operations and eventually invade the country and reek the rewards [Like they did in Iraq]

Not a bad one at all!
It would make a great action movie plot.
I might Call Stallone....
posted by Travis, 12:51 am | link | 0 comments |

Hitting Home

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today there was a 'significant' attack on a UN guest house in central Kabul. No more than 1 km from my house. After the smoke had cleared everyone is talking about the effects it will have on us and our lives here in Kabul. 'We will all be so drastically effected.'

But when my best friend and flatmate Hamid woke him me today to tell me about the attack, my first question was how many have been killed? He answered: 'Oh, only 5 foreigners.'

This is not the first time I have seen him act so unfazed about an attack near us. We have talked about it and he told me a story of a our mutual friend of ours trying to identify his dead father out of 100s of dead bodies spread all over the road.

Hamid and most Afghans have seen incidents far greater in tragedy than today's attack, so when the reports come through they listen and then get on with it [life]. If only I could tell you stories that they have told me.......

I don't want to play down today's attack, but we all know when we come here what we are risking and therefore should not be surprised when it happens.

RIP to those UN workers and all that die for senseless reasons in this conflict.
posted by Travis, 11:52 pm | link | 9 comments |

Sneak Preview

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We just got back from a trip that we've been dreaming about doing all year.

Myself and my two good friends Jeremy and Hamid conquered the the Anjuman Pass on motorcycles. The Anjuman peak inside the infamous Panjshir Valley is over 4500 metres high.

The tale of this triumphant tour involved hiring a mini militias, suicide bomber mistaken identities and watermelon n' RPG picnics.

All will be revealed in the text/pic/video package we are putting together. But in the mean time here is a sneak preview......

posted by Travis, 8:23 pm | link | 5 comments |

The good 'ol days have past.


This sums up 80% of my work environment.
Please pass it onto all editors in your contact list.
posted by Travis, 6:54 pm | link | 6 comments |

Two wrongs don't make a right


Ok, so first they rig the elections.
Then they beat and kill the people from your own country [protesters against the election results].
Then then arrest, detain and torture the rest of the opposition.
Now they are sentencing them to death.

[Wait a sec that is 4 wrongs]
Still doesn't make it right

posted by Travis, 6:53 pm | link | 1 comments |

From the other side of the coin


On a brighter note:

The Taliban Friday condemned Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, saying rather than bring peace to Afghanistan he had boosted troop numbers and continued the aggressive policies of his predecessor.
posted by Travis, 4:12 pm | link | 1 comments |

The invaders start to crumble

Friday, October 09, 2009


U.S. President Barack Obama's new strategy on Afghanistan will target al-Qaeda, not the Taliban.

The decision reportedly came after he held discussions with top U.S. military commanders, Democratic and Republican leaders, and members of his diplomatic and national security team in the wake of a troop request by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Obama is expected to focus on keeping al-Qaeda at bay and reduce the emphasis on the Taliban, while approving limited troop reinforcement.

The Associated Press yesterday quoted a senior U.S. official as saying Obama's diplomatic team is planning a strategy focusing on fighting al-Qaeda above all other goals.

According to the official, however, the strategy will not tolerate the Taliban's return to power while preventing Afghanistan from becoming a renewed sanctuary for al-Qaeda.

The Obama administration has reportedly recognized that the Taliban is too ingrained in Afghan culture to be entirely defeated, and is prepared to accept a Taliban role in parts of Afghanistan.

The precondition is that the Taliban must renounce violence to participate in the central government.

The strategy is seen as the president's will to avoid a long-term war of attrition in Afghanistan, where both the British Empire and the Soviet Union failed in the past.

Over the past eight years, the U.S. has suffered more than 870 casualties in Afghanistan. If Washington excludes a full-fledged war on the Taliban from its Afghanistan strategy, it can focus on attacking al-Qaeda's hideouts in Pakistan by using U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

American conservatives including Senator John McCain of the Republican Party oppose the plan, however. They say tolerating the Taliban will be the same as letting al-Qaeda expand its influence.
posted by Travis, 4:31 pm | link | 6 comments |

Quote of the Week

"Too many Whys and not enough Becauses"

Maybe I have been here too long.....

PS: sorry for the lack of posts, but been mad busy.
posted by Travis, 4:31 pm | link | 2 comments |

So cool

I met this dude in 1999.



Now someone has made a doco about him.

posted by Travis, 3:52 pm | link | 5 comments |