Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, July 07, 2006

‘Life in Afghanistan’: As Blogged in the NY Times

Sarah Chayes, author of the forthcoming “The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban” has been in Kandahar, Afghanistan for almost five years. She is blogging for the NY Times on her experiences and daily life in Afghanistan.

“It’s 3:30, maybe quarter of four in the morning. Sleep is exploded by the slicing blades of a helicopter swinging low—like a pile driver in the next room. Surely the thing will set down right here in our compound. Mercifully, the noise fades, but not quite out. The chopper completes its loop and swoops back overheard, bearing in.

“I am lying on my back on a velvet-covered mattress on the floor. The electricity is out because more fighting in Helmand Province cut the high voltage lines. It is so hot I can hardly breathe. I dab cool water from an earthenware jar onto my chest, and bury my head between two pillows for refuge against the clattering chopper.

“This is Kandahar, Afghanistan. The antipode, the Other Ground Zero, the place where events that changed all our lives were planned five years ago.

“I will be telling you that Kandaharis—denizens of that heart of darkness, the Taliban stronghold—are among the least ideologically motivated people I have ever met. I will be telling you that the insurgency you may have been reading about as of late is not so much an indigenous uprising against the Western presence or the Afghan central government as it is something like a low-grade invasion.”

The full article is available by subscription.


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