Archived posts from category ‘Una in Afghanistan’

U.N. Dispatch: Embedded With Afghan Civil Society, Part Five, Bathing in Yakawlang

My first morning in Yakawlang I oversleep, eat a hasty breakfast of bread and tea with the AHRDO employees, and go to wash my face before venturing out. There is no more water in the water tank in the bathroom, so Bisharat tells me we’ll use the public bath in Nayak, the biggest village in the valley below.

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U.N. Dispatch: Embedded With Afghan Civil Society, Part Four, the Road to Yakawlang

Leaving Bamiyan city, we drive through what amounts to a slum. The sights are jarring. This is where some of the poorest people in the world scrape out a ragged existence on the edges of a society with little to spare. Destitute families crowd into caves cut out from the rocky cliffs. There is no running water, no electricity, and just a few rudimentary outdoor latrines. The six month Bamiyan winter is often deadly for children and pregnant women living in these caves.

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U.N. Dispatch: Embedded with Afghan Civil Society, Part Three, Bamiyan City

Bamiyan city is not a city in the developed world sense. It has one commercial street with a rambling bazaar of small shops that sell local silver, carpets, medicine, food and bicycle repair supplies. The tallest buildings in sight are two stories.

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U.N. Dispatch: Embedded with Afghan Civil Society, Part Two, the Long Haul to Bamiyan

Around 8:00 in the morning, we stop in a small village in a mountainous area of Parwan. It’s breakfast time, and we are half-way to Bamiyan City.

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U.N. Dispatch: Embedded With Afghan Civil Society, Part One, Leaving Kabul in Darkness

At 3:oo in the morning, Bisharat, AHRDO’s 28-year-old managing director, calls me to say he is close to my house and to be ready when he arrives. The Toyota minibus pulls up outside and I bundle my duvet and duffle bag in the back. Bisharat slams the door shut. “Okay,” he says, “let’s go to Bamiyan!”

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U.N. Dispatch: Embedded with Afghan Civil Society

Afghanistan is more than a war, and though violence is spreading, much of the country remains peaceful. Events in Afghanistan seldom make headlines abroad unless they involve violence, fanaticism or government malfeasance. Regrettably little attention is paid to civilian life, which goes on — because it must — in spite of deteriorating security.

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U.N. Dispatch: The Australian Government’s Senseless Asylum Policy

The Australian Government temporarily suspended processing of asylum claims from Afghan and Sri Lankan nationals earlier this month, claiming the situations in those countries had sufficiently improved.

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U.N. Dispatch: Humanitarian Aid, a Warmonger’s Best Friend?

Does humanitarian aid prolong wars? Yes, argues Dutch journalist Linda Polman in her new book War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times, which was just reviewed by The Guardian.


U.N. Dispatch: U.N. Evacuates Some Staff From Embattled Kandahar: What About Those Left Behind?

by UNA MOORE The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced April 27 that it has temporarily moved some of its international staff in Kandahar to Kabul and instructed its national staff in Kandahar to stay at home. The announcement came after a spate of suicide bombings, attacks on supply convoys, and the fatal [...]

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U.N. Dispatch: Mass Sickness of Afghan Schoolgirls Raises Poisoning Fears

Since April 21, at least eighty Afghan schoolgirls at three schools in the increasingly violent northern city of Kunduz have mysteriously fallen ill after reporting a strange smell in their classrooms. Most of the affected girls have been hospitalized briefly and released, but the sudden, mysterious epidemic of fainting and nausea is raising fears of poisoning by opponents of girls’ education.

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Unastan: Buzkashi, Rougher than Politics

The only peaceful activity in Afghan society rougher than politics is buzkashi, Afghanistan’s national sport. Buzkashi is vaguely reminiscent of polo, but instead of a ball, players on horseback vie for a headless calf or goat carcass.


Unastan: Kabul Nightlife, Not All Bombs and Illegal Booze

War-zone nightlife stories have long been staples of foreign correspondence, and every wartime capital city produces them. Like their subject, they are a guilty pleasure of wartime journalism. They’re usually also a little — or a lot — sensational.