October 25, 2009

An Invitation

I read in Friday’s Independent that: "Three judges of the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal ruled on Wednesday that the level of "indiscriminate violence" was not enough to permit Afghans to claim general humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. Hundreds of asylum-seekers a year are returned to Afghanistan if they have not convinced a court they […]

October 19, 2009

WRL: Blogging, Milblogging and the London bombings

(Dusty history section) on the London bombings, 2005. I came across a couple of links on media coverage of the London bombings in July 2005 that I hadn’t previously discovered. Maybe you missed them too. Mike Thelwall did some research into bloggers and the bombings which ‘scratches the surface’ of the use of blogs to […]

October 14, 2009

Frontline: Obama’s War

I flagged up the preview earlier in the month and now here is the full version of the Frontline documentary, Obama’s War:

October 13, 2009

DoD Director of New Media: “It’s not about controlling the message anymore”

Continuing what is rapidly turning into an autumnal video season here on the blog, I came across this interview by David Meerman Scott with Roxie Merritt, the Director of New Media Operations at the U.S. Department of Defense.    There’s some very interesting stuff in this brief video. A few points for those of you […]

October 12, 2009

Afghan and US commanders considering Kandahar & Quetta to be next big stops in insurgency fight

In recent recommendations by the top American commander in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is exerting pressure to add another 40,000 troops on top of the 68,000 Americans already deployed there. The report by Gen McChrystal, last week got leaked to the media, in which he have assessed three main Taliban groups. The report identifies […]

October 7, 2009

2 Rifles firefight in Afghanistan

Here’s a very short video of a recent firefight in Helmand province courtesy of Michael Yon’s recent embed with the British Army.     I seem to have slipped into videoblogging these days. I’ll write something soon…promise. Maybe you prefer the videos anyway. 

October 2, 2009

Obama’s War

Worth checking out this preview of an imminent PBS Frontline documentary. Photojournalist Danfung Dennis embeds with Echo Company, US Marines as they push south in Helmand province.   More details on the film can be found on the PBS website.

October 2, 2009

MoD apologises to Michael Yon for “misunderstanding”

Yesterday, I suggested there might be an unlikely rapprochement between Michael Yon and the British Ministry of Defence after the row over the end of the journalist’s embed with the British Army in Afghanistan. And that’s clearly what Nick Gurr, the MoD’s Director of Media and Communications, is trying to achieve with this post. Written […]

October 1, 2009

More on Michael Yon and British Media Operations

Apologies to those of you who are already in October but I’ve been on holiday and want to wrap a few things up from the back end of September. This is one of those things. So if you read about this last week there’s not much new here. But if you haven’t, hopefully it offers […]

September 15, 2009

Secretary of Defence: “Afghanistan first”

The British Secretary of Defence said operations in Afghanistan must take priority in the next Strategic Defence Review in a speech at King’s College, London. Bob Ainsworth said longer term strategic considerations should be secondary to providing the necessary equipment and manpower to British Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Ainsworth conceded that there was "significant" pressure […]

September 1, 2009

Michael Yon to end Afghanistan embeds and go it alone

Independent war reporter Michael Yon has not so much burnt his military embed bridges as completely obliterated them. He claims that the Ministry of Defence has been trying to have him removed from the area of Regional Command (South) and from Thursday he will be reporting unilaterally from Helmand province. Yon was annoyed that his […]

August 26, 2009

Michael Yon: Ministry of Defence gave me “zero warning”

In an email I received overnight, Michael Yon claims the Ministry of Defence "cut off" his embed with the British Army in Afghanistan with "zero warning and no chance for me to prepare." As I highlighted yesterday, Yon had been embedded with 2 Rifles for the last five weeks. The MoD denied that Yon’s embed […]

August 26, 2009

Kandahar Eyewitness Account – Felix Kuehn

It was perhaps twenty minutes after the call to prayer had sounded and we were breaking the fast, sitting on the floor around a plastic sheet with plates of rice and meat, when I was knocked sideways to the ground. It takes a split second till you realize what happened; the shock-wave had blown out […]

August 26, 2009

Felix in Kandahar – Eyewitness Account

Please see the previous blogpost for more on this story, but here is Felix Kuehn (my friend and colleague in Kandahar) on CBC Radio talking an hour or two after tonight’s bombing:   Just press play on the Houndbite bar above.  Felix will be updating his blog and reposting here tomorrow morning when he wakes […]

August 25, 2009

Kandahar City Bombing

I’m sitting in Dubai at the moment so can’t claim to be the man on the ground for tonight’s bombing in Kandahar City.  That dubious honour goes to Felix Kuehn (@felixkuehn on Twitter and for his blog).  I just spoke to him over the phone and he added some details to the mix: – […]

August 25, 2009

The mystery of Michael Yon’s “cancelled” embed

So what’s going on with Michael Yon’s embed with the British Army in Afghanistan? Michael Yon is an independent journalist who has been spending some time with 2 Rifles in Helmand filing dispatches for his website. After writing a post entitled ‘Bad Medicine‘ – a description of a British operation in Sangin, (neatly summarised at […]

August 25, 2009

Guest Post: Votes we can believe in (Felix Kuehn)

It’s the middle of summer down here in Kandahar, with temperatures peeking around 50 degree celsius by noon.  In the run up to Afghanistan’s second presidential and provincial council elections foreign troops stepped up their efforts, launching multiple operations to prepare the ground for voters. British casualties passed the 200 mark, with friends from London […]

August 21, 2009

“Go tell the world about our fake election”

So it finally happened.  The election that we’ve been waiting for and looking forward to at least since last winter took place today all over the country.  I’ll refrain from writing anything about the rest of the country.  There are plenty of places to get a good sense of what happened.  Make sure to check […]

August 19, 2009

Who to follow: Twitter for the Afghanistan election

I’ve already added several people to the list since it was first published. New twitter accounts I add will appear at the top of each section from now on… In Afghanistan @ashrafghani – Dr Ashraf Ghani, Presidential candidate. @KevinFlowerCNN – CNN Correspondent. @hamishreporter – Hamish Macdonald, Al Jazeera English Correspondent and Presenter. @itamena – Helped […]

August 17, 2009

WRL: The ‘ghost war’ and war reporting

I tend to push most of my war reporting links through Twitter rather than on blog posts these days but I thought this little collection was worth a quick update. 1. Sean Smith chronicles three months on the front line in Afghanistan: "High explosive is zooming back and forwards, so the enemy is certainly there, […]

August 16, 2009

Kandahar Election Rallies (Karzai, Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani)

With only four days to go before the elections, I thought it might be useful to comment on how the opposition candidates’ rallies went this past week.  Myself and my colleague were graced with the presence of a good half dozen members of the international press corps this week, and in all likeliness you’ll read […]

August 12, 2009

An Afghanistan strategy dialogue

Well worth tuning into this debate over at Abu Muqawama. If you want the background start here. Day One was a few days back now and they’re already up to Day Five.

August 6, 2009

Kandahar: City of Nobody’s Dreams

For outsiders, Kandahar was never really somewhere you could fall in love with.  You know the kind of thing I mean: places people went to honeymoon, places with a certain ineluctable quality to them… Back in the seventies, when Kandahar was a popular stopover city on the hippy trail to Kabul and India, one such […]

July 29, 2009

2 Rifles in Helmand

I tweeted about this a couple of days ago, but if you haven’t yet latched on to Michael Yon’s latest reports and photography from Afghanistan then you should do so now. And while we’re on the ‘blogging from Helmand theme’, this collection of British Commanders’ Diaries from Operation Panther’s Claw is also worth checking out.

July 28, 2009

Insight into The Times’ Afghanistan debate

Earlier today I ‘sat in’ on The Times’ liveblogging debate about whether the war in Afghanistan is winnable. The Times have been experimenting with Cover It Live for a while now, but haven’t put it to use to cover defence issues until today (as far as I’m aware). The debate featured Defence Editor, Michael Evans, […]

July 17, 2009

Blogs on the helicopters

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown quoted Lt Col Nick Richardson in Afghanistan who said he had "sufficient [helicopters] to get on with the task with which he’s been given". Which suggests he was given a very particular task (like painting a helicopter or something), because earlier that morning, the Head of the British […]

July 9, 2009

The front line in Afghanistan

The BBC’s Ian Pannell and cameraman Fred Scott are on the front line in Helmand. The British troops they film are taking part in Operation Panther’s Claw, which has cost the lives of seven British soldiers in the last week.   I picked this up via Dr Ken Payne on the Kings of War blog, […]

July 7, 2009

If you want a different take…

…on the recent deaths of British Army soldiers, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe and Tpr Joshua Hammond, in Afghanistan then head over to Defence of the Realm. The author, Richard North, believes the BBC missed the point about the weaknesses of the Viking that the soldiers were travelling in when it was hit by an Improvised […]

June 25, 2009

Strategic Communications: New Media

Here in the bunker – it is a rather swish conference room but there’s a serious shortage of natural light – we’ve been looking at new media and strategic communications. In a moment, three themes from the session and the morning’s discussion.  But if you want a frankly more interesting general overview of what the […]

June 22, 2009

Narco wars season starts this week

The Frontline Club starts the Narco Wars season on the War on Drugs on June 23rd. The season is packed with films, discussions and events focussed on the topic of drugs from Colombia to Afghanistan and into South East Asia. Here’s what’s coming up, – June 23 – Photojournalist Jason P. Howe talks drugs in […]