January 22, 2008

Enjoy your stay

J. Malcolm Garcia writes a lengthy piece in the Virginia Quarterly Review about his recent return to Afghanistan and his impressions since he was last there in October, 2004. The Spin Ghar hotel in Jalalabad, a popular hangout for ex-Taliban commanders, offered a warm welcome.

January 15, 2008

Carsten Thomassen killed at the Serena

The gunfire and bomb blasts that rocked the only luxury hotel in Kabul yesterday killed Norwegian journalist Carsten Thomassen. He wrote for the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet. He was reporting on the visit of Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian Foreign Minister. The International federation of Journalists condemns the attack, “This attack shows that Afghanistan is one […]

January 14, 2008

4 million bullets

The Ministry of Defence revises original figures of bullets used by British troops in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The real number, circa-4 million bullets, is almost double the original estimate, “These new figures illustrate the intensity of fighting our troops face. It does call into question Des Browne’s judgment that the Taliban poses no strategic threat […]

January 8, 2008

Ross Kemp in Helmand

Ex-soap star Ross Kemp heads to Helmand in a new five-part series. The Guardian has a trailer for the series and background on Organ Grinder, “During one engagement between B Company and the Taliban, we were pinned down by enemy fire in open ground,” he says. “Bullets fizzed inches from our heads, hitting the ground […]

December 18, 2007

John D. McHugh on the BBC

Frontline club member, photographer, occasional club speaker and sniper bullet survivor John D.McHugh is back in Afghanistan and he’s interviewed about his return on this week’s BBC Radio Pods & Blogs show. You can listen to the show here or, go one better, and subscribe to the excellent podcast. The show has some Frontline club […]

December 12, 2007

Shanker gets frisked in Kabul

Thom Shanker, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times, relates three tales of his recent blast through Djibouti, Afghanistan, Iraq and Bahrain on the trail of US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates, Outside the palace walls, correspondents went through metal detectors, and had their backpacks searched — that’s routine. But heavily armed security guards also […]

December 11, 2007

Working in the Korengal valley

In the latest edition of Vanity Fair, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington talk about working on a story from the Korengal Valley frontline in Afghanistan. The duo were embedded with Second Platoon for ABC News.

December 11, 2007

At War

[video:youtube:iEVmbED4_0U] At War, a film by Scott Kesterson embedded with Army National Guard 41st Brigade, is due out in 2008 and this is the third trailer – via Afghanistanica

December 6, 2007

War News Radio

All the wars, all of the time. Well OK, some of the wars, some of the time. War News Radio reports on and from Afghanistan and Iraq and is cobbled together by students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. The weekly 29-minute programme is free to listen to. The station aims to shed light on, [the] […]

November 27, 2007

Conquer or die

[video:youtube:VpBeRvhRTw4&eurl] Afghan Knights – “Conquer or die” – Oh dear, oh weary, weary dear… This straight to video crapfest depicts the war in Afghanistan. For value added super realism it is filmed in Kamloops, British Columbia in a country called Canada. “Exotic” Kamloops, as Afghanistanica calls it, is approximately 6524.398 miles from Kabul according to […]

November 19, 2007

3 Para

British Paras are renowned more for prowess on the battlefield than media savvy. However, that reputation may need to be revised with the publication of 3 Para by Patrick Bishop. This book is an account of 3 Para Battle Group’s tour in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, last year. Throughout their six months on the ground, […]

November 5, 2007

“Growing up fast”

Ben Anderson hits Helmand for the Daily Mail, As a BBC foreign correspondent, I’ve visited most of the world’s war zones – Iraq, Gaza, Congo and many more – but nothing prepared me for what I found when I flew into Kandahar airport to join up with a unit of the First Battalion Grenadier Guards […]

November 2, 2007

Excerpts from the sandbox

This week Slate publish excerpts from a series of stories from the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. The snippets are taken from the Sandbox blog which is a collaboration between Doonesbury creator G.B. Trudeau and editor David Stanford. The blog is a mix of opium, bullets and dangerous encounters along with insights into the daily […]

October 19, 2007

Women of Courage – Intimate Stories from Afghanistan

Above all other countries, because of its long conflict since 1979, longer than the lives of many of those now reporting it, Afghanistan has faced several different generations of reporters. They tend to see the country through the prism of the first campaign they were in, a narrow frame of reference, with few shades of […]

October 2, 2007

Barbi in a burqa

Looking for something for the little ones? The perfect Kabul keepsake – Barbi in a Burqa. Not from Kabul, from California. via Afghanistanica. if you’re into dogs more than kids, how about a dog burqa. Big in NYC I’m hearing,

October 1, 2007

What it’s like to be in a firefight

John D McHugh was shot in Afghanistan and was lucky to survive. He talked at the Frontline Club about his experience working as a photographer in Afghanistan. Today, on his blog, he retells the story he wrote from his hospital bed, So, here it is. This is the account I wrote of the 14 May […]

October 1, 2007

Owning Up To War

I have written an article in the Frontline Club newsletter linked above.

September 29, 2007

Newsnight – report from Sangin valley, Helmand, Afghanistan

This is the full 16 minute documentary that originally aired on BBC Newsnight on 26 September, 2007. It’s available for download on Google Video. My original text from the evening that I returned from Sangin: I have been out on operations with Colour Sergeant Jim Bastin of the Inkerman Company and a platoon of the […]

September 28, 2007

In the Press Gazette

Vaughan is interviewed in the Press Gazette this week about the hows, whys and history of frontline journalism, “When we started off we wanted to have complete independence, we were paying for our own trips and we were risking our lives as well as our livelihoods but there was a problem – the only place […]

September 27, 2007

Afghanistan Newsnight website

You can view the 16 minute Newsnight documentary on the Newsnight website for, I think, three days. We’ll post the entire film on the blog, on YouTube and Brightcove as soon as we can. Meanwhile, take a minute to peruse the Newsnight Afghanistan page for related video, interviews and links to Flickr, Google Maps and […]

September 26, 2007

Pre-Newsnight showing build up

The Newsnight film shows in half an hour – and just in case you’re still tuned in here – there’s a bit more background and preamble on the BBC Newsnight website, Twenty years ago I left the Grenadier Guards to become a freelance cameraman. Three months later I was in Southern Afghanistan filming Afghans shelling […]

September 26, 2007

Interview with Brigadier John Lorimer

[video:youtube:QGf7fY98RhM] As promised earlier, here is an interview with Brigadier John Lorimer, the Brigade Commander of 12 Brigade, currently in Helmand.

September 26, 2007

16 Minute Film on BBC Newsnight Tonight

Tonight is the night: 10.30pm on BBC 2. BBC Newsnight plan to show my 16 minute film. I could get bumped off by a major news event and if this happens it should then appear tomorrow night. The film might get picked up by BBC World and shown internationally. The 16 minute film was shot […]

September 22, 2007


Do insurgents inhale? I really wouldn’t know, but they would appear to have plenty of opportunity should the need arise.

September 20, 2007

Owning up to war

Since leaving them 20 years ago I have always wanted to film my old army regiment, the Grenadier Guards, on operations and I have just returned from staying with them in Helmand, in southern Afghanistan, where they have been involved in intense fighting. It was not my first attempt at filming the Grenadiers in action. […]

September 15, 2007

Back in Britain with a Bag of Video Tapes

Sadly my time is up with the British Army in Afghanistan. There are lots of journalists who want the space and I will have to wait my turn to come back. I tried to get back to Kabul in time for my scheduled flight to London’s Heathrow, but this wasn’t possible so I ended up […]

September 12, 2007

Axe at war

While googling around for a half decent link for David Axe in the last post, I came across this comic strip, one of 19 based on ‘the Axe’ experience of war reporting. Axe blogs at the honestly titled War is boring.

September 12, 2007

Vaughan talks…

…from Afghanistan, in between mortars, machine gun fire and RPGs on BBC Radio 5’s non too shoddy Pods and Blogs show. Well worth a listen. There is plenty of discussion on how people report from Afghanistan and Iraq with war reporter David Axe. Get yourself a cuppa tea and listen in here.

September 6, 2007

Dessert warfare

Vaughan’s chocolate bar chronicles spill over onto the Observer Food Monthly blog, The bigger question is, which minion in which ministry dreamt up this disaster in desert dining? Where’s your all-weather food; your dried fruit, dried meat, nuts, oatcakes and wotnot? The Ministry of Defence website tells us: “Thankfully the selection of dishes on the […]

September 5, 2007

Vaughan does Auntie

Vaughan gets picked up by the BBC’s excellent Pods & Blogs show. Producer Chris Vallance spoke to Vaughan today and we hope to hear his master’s dulcit tones on the show next week, I’ve just spoken with Vaughan about the embed and his decision to blog, vlog and twitter. His YouTube videos highlight the intensity […]