November 9, 2008

Mellissa Fung free

[video:youtube:goSQuxkfKwU] Mellissa Fung, a 35 year old journalist with CBC, who was kidnapped in Kabul four weeks ago was released today. She says she was kept in a cave for the first three weeks, “They kept me blindfolded, but not the whole time,” she said. “They chained me. . . . Just my hands and […]

November 7, 2008

Daniel Bennett on the Nick Meo brouhaha

Frontline blogger Dan is doing a great job trying to get to the bottom of a rather confused story relating to Nick Meo’s report on a bomb explosion just outside Kandahar recently. I recommend you go and read through both Dan’s posts on this. Start with the summary of the debate that continues to rage […]

November 7, 2008

Dutch journalist freed

An unnamed Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by suspected Taliban in Afghanistan last week has been freed, The woman, whose name was not released, was captured on Saturday last week while she was en route to do a story about a group of Taliban who had killed 10 French soldiers in August, an editor at […]

November 6, 2008

More on Meo and the US milbloggers

I’ve been doing some further work into ‘Nick Meo vs the milbloggers‘ to try to work out exactly what is going on. The Telegraph journalist has got in touch with me and I have also had email contact with 1Lt Amy Bonanno, the ARSIC Public Affairs Officer. I’d like to start by setting up what […]

November 5, 2008

More from the Shah Wali Kot wedding bombing

Photographs from the women’s section of the hospital in Kandahar today. Click the image above to scroll through the pictures. I am writing for the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada for this story. In interviews at Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar city, where at least 16 male victims and dozens of female victims were being […]

November 4, 2008

Shah Wali Kot Wedding Bombing

Reports started to come in earlier today of a bombing of a wedding party in Kandahar province’s north-western district of Shah Wali Kot. I visited the hospital just now to visit and interview survivors. Abdul Zahir, 24, is the bride’s brother. He was in Shah Wali Kot yesterday for the wedding when the bombing started. […]

November 3, 2008

Telegraph journalist, Nick Meo vs Milbloggers: a summary

One of the ways in which bloggers have acquitted themselves in the media space is by acting as a ‘fifth estate’ – scrutinising what the fourth estate – the mainstream media – do, challenging facts and publishing corrections, clarifications, and rebuttals. A while ago, I collected some links on the way bloggers appeared to influence […]

October 31, 2008

Craig Swan on cold nights in Helmand

Craig Swan talks about life working in Helmand province in Afghanistan. The former BBC foreign correspondent now lives in the Spey Valley in Scotland and still hankers for the life overseas, although he admits it isn’t all rosy, “As the producer in charge, it was my job to negotiate with the Ministry of Defence to […]

October 28, 2008

David Loyn talks 200 years in Afghanistan

[video:brightcove:1847310960] David Loyn talked about the 200 years of intervention in Afghanistan at the club last week. If you missed the talk, click the video above it’s well worth watching or listen to the event in iTunes. In The Independent Kim Sengupta follows up with a discussion on engaging with the Taliban, The war this […]

October 26, 2008

Working in Kabul

Kitty Dimbleby describes the quite ridiculous reality of working as a foreign correspondent in Kabul. It makes you wonder just what the value of the old parachuted in foreign correspondent really is – and what great expense it costs – when they can’t even get to the people to get a story beyond visiting a […]

October 26, 2008

Nick Meo hits back

Nick Meo, who reported from outside Kandahar moments after an IED attack one week ago, has been coming in for a bit of stick since the report. He hit back earlier this week in the Telegraph with his side of this argument from the frontline, For writing about this, the bloggers have called me a […]

October 24, 2008

Life for Pervez Kambaksh

Kim Sengupta, Independent journalist and Frontline Club regular, follows up on the court case of Pervez Kambaksh in Kabul. Kambaksh was originally sentenced to death for downloading information about women’s rights from the Internet. This week he was sentenced to life imprisonment, “I was, of course, hoping to be freed, but the fact that they […]

October 23, 2008

Working as a female journalist in Afghanistan

Farida Nekzad, who earlier this week received the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism award, talked to US News and World Report about her work as a journalist in Afghanistan, Was there ever a time when you reconsidered your decision to stay and report in Afghanistan? There was a female reporter—actually, she owned a […]

October 22, 2008

US Milblogs from Iraq

After the closure of Kaboom: A Soldier’s War Journal, what’s been filling my milblogging void? Well here are some of the ones from Iraq that I’ve been reading recently. Fobbits Need Ice Cream Too. A National Guard Infantry soldier describes life running convoys into Iraq from Kuwait in the best of irreverent styles. “Our battalion […]

October 20, 2008

Nick Meo in Kandahar IED incident

[video:youtube:1GegGPTSAqg] Nick Meo, Telegraph foreign correspondent, reports from Afghanistan a few seconds after an IED exploded a truck he was travelling in just outside Kandahar launching it into the air and turning it upside down. Nick filmed the aftermath of the attack in the clip above, The Cougar was meant to clear a way along […]

October 20, 2008

Cool down in Kabul

In Kabul, blazing hot, need to cool down, head to the local ice cream parlour and order yourself a Shir Yakh. No idea if it tastes any good, but SBS reporter Yalda Hakim got to try one as she returns to her birthplace, Kabul and blogs in words, pictures and video what she finds there, […]

October 18, 2008

Tablighi Jamaat

The yearly general and regional ‘conferences’ of the Tablighi Jamaat are perhaps the most undercovered big events that go on in Afghanistan. Last year I went to the general meeting in Kabul, a 4-day event that over 10,000 people attended. Not a single report was written, be it foreign media or Afghan media. Now to […]

October 16, 2008

“4-nil and it’s started to rain”

Not much has happened in Kandahar since I last wrote – not on a grand scale, anyway. It seems the dead need to line up in the dozens for international media to take note. Today an attack on a USPI convoy killed several, but it will undoubtedly not be deemed newsworthy enough for anything more […]

October 15, 2008

A winnable war?

“There’s no such thing as a winnable war; It’s a lie that we don’t believe anymore” Music is not my specialist subject but these lyrics have been popping into my head over the past couple of days. Sting, of course, was singing in the context of the Cold War, but after these comments made by […]

October 14, 2008

Bad Voodoo’s War @ The Frontline Club

Friday night I made my first visit(!) to the Frontline Club. I was going to watch a screening of a film called Bad Voodoo’s War directed by Deborah Scranton. Deborah, who’d never met me before, very kindly agreed to put me on her guest list for the event. So I’ve got to say nice things […]

October 14, 2008

In search of the Taliban

John D. McHugh’s latest multimedia report for the Guardian finds him in Logar province with the US-Afghan mission in search of the Taliban. A US army captain, with a price on his red head, gives his views on the challenges they face. John also has an audio slideshow up on The Guardian, The Seray combat […]

October 9, 2008

Following The Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan

Michael Yon is an independent journalist who has undertaken a number of embeds with British and American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In September, he spent some time with the Parachute Regiment in Helmand Province and his three blog posts are well worth a read. Part One gives you an insight into 2 Para’s life […]

October 9, 2008

LIVE event: David Loyn – 200 years of intervention

You can now watch the event here.  Afghanistan is the subject for tonight’s discussion at the Frontline Club. As usual, if you can’t make it to the club in person, please come and join us on the Frontline Club live channel. We start at the slightly earlier time than usual at 7pm UK time, Thurs […]

October 8, 2008

Far From the City

In case you were wondering what’s happening outside the city in the districts, here’s a story and a half. Ghorak district is north-west of the city, and not especially important in itself. Off the top of my head, it was the first district that the Soviets abandoned during the 1980s when they started their slow […]

October 8, 2008

Ben Anderson on 24 hours in Helmand

[video:liveleak:89a_1223425254] Ben Anderson talks about his BBC reports from Helmand province in Afghanistan with VBS TV. Part 1 is above and here’s more on the series, “This series is about 24 hours in Helmand, Afghanistan’s most violent province. More..I was with the Queen’s Company, British soldiers who normally guard Buckingham Palace. Their job was to […]

October 5, 2008

Back in Kandahar

Amniat kharab day. Hokumat kharab day. Taliban kharab day. Security is messed up. The government’s messed up. The Taliban are messed up. I was trying to have a conversation with old colleague of mine from Kabul on the plane down to Kandahar. He’s originally from there, of course, but now lived and worked in the […]

October 2, 2008

Chris Wattie talks Afghanistan

Chris Wattie, National Post senior national reporter and author of Contact Charlie: The Canadian Army, The Taliban and the Battle that Saved Afghanistan, talks about time in Kandahar with Canadian soldiers, In an enlightening interview, Wattie describes his experience in combat with Canadian soldiers, and tells the stories that most Canadians haven’t heard. He discusses […]

October 1, 2008

Panjwayi Taliban Interview

I know it’s a little old, but probably most of those reading this blog haven’t seen it, and a lot of what is said here hasn’t changed since early 2007. We made this interview with a Taliban commander in Panjwayi district of Kandahar province while AfghanWire was still up and running. For more of the […]

October 1, 2008

Mullah Omar releases his ‘eid message

Just like last year, Mullah Omar, the sort-of Taliban leader, has released a message on the occasion of ‘eid, the Muslim religious festival. Lots of interesting things in what he says, so you ought to read the full text (available in pretty passable English translation here). But before you get there make sure to read […]

September 30, 2008

For sure they will kill us

Jason Motlagh writes on the Washington Times blog about the increasing dangers of reporting from Afghanistan. According to the post, “the government was responsible for at least 23 of the 45 reported incidents of intimidation, violence or arrest of journalists between May 2007 and May 2008” Unsurprisingly, it’s the Afghan journalists who are most at […]