How’s this for an inspiring story?

August 29, 2007

I know this is no substitute for serious blogging/commentary on the situation here, but someone just forwarded this link to me and I felt a wee bit proud and wanted to share it with whoever still visits Safrang -at the risk of being accused of shameless self-promotion. (Also because it is a change –however small– from what you get to read about Afghanistan nowadays on blogs – which is mostly doom and gloom.)

Afghanistan Scholarship Rugs

rugs

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In a few days I will be travelling north on business. Hopefully that will give me the right impetus to start blogging again. Life –so much has happened in the intervening period– and work in Kabul have joined forces and leave me little time for “informed commentary.”


We Love Dry Humor

August 8, 2007

And Mathew Yglesias has got a good bit of it on offer here:

Karzai, who only lives in Afghanistan and runs its government, calls Iran “a helper.” Bush, though, says he’s got it wrong.

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Me thinks Karzai went to the Camp David (for some reason every time I hear this name I cannot help but remember the classic line from As Good As It Gets when Jack Nicholson references it while accosting his neighbor) armed with the thorny Iran issue not so much to get Bush to cuddle up to Ahmadinezhad as much as for political consumption back home and to show some spine and independence of thought and action. Here, it does not take very long to realize the importance of precisely that.


Unreconstructed-ii

August 8, 2007

US Funded Projects

This map leaves little room for doubt as to the “insurgency premium” reaped by the trouble(d) spots of the country. (Map taken from a guest post by Ambassador Thomas Schweich, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), US Department of State on CSIS PCR Project blog.)

Rory Stewart has got it right when he says in his new column that:

Projects in hostile areas, where the local population is not working with us and where a minority wants to attack us, are not a constructive use of our limited resources.

The column goes on to advocate for a peace and cooperation premium in areas hitherto neglected and unreconstructed:

We can do much more to show people the benefit of cooperating with the coalition… Our best hope is rather to focus on the many secure and welcoming parts of Afghanistan’s center and north. Efforts to jumpstart local economies led by members of those communities are more effective, more relevant and more sustainable than those dictated by outsiders. We have a great opportunity in the north, center and west of Afghanistan to lead development projects for which Afghans will still be grateful 50 years from now.

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In other news, after an unannounced and inexcusable hiatus of almost two months to date, Safrang is back online – with the added benefit of now being posted live from the heat of the moment and the belly of the beast. Step aside Geraldo!

All ye thirsty beneficiaries of this infinite stream of wisdom rejoice!