I’m Not the Only One Out and About

by Joshua Foust on 1/25/2009

Damian Brooks, a Canadian blogger currently embedded in Kandahar, is out on patrol with his hard-fighting countrymen:

The [District] Centre was bigger than I had imagined it to be. A big plot of mud, enclosed by a high concrete wall topped with razor-wire and cornered by guard towers, with two decent-sized buildings in the middle. One was an ANP building, and one was the administrative building for the local government. Both were enclosed by a shrapnel-pockmarked wall that had served to protect a much smaller compound before the new perimeter had been constructed. Short months ago, a suicide bomber had somehow made it past the ANP guarding the outer wall, and detonated near the inner gate. I was told that the blast shattered windows in the admin building. Looking up at the distance from the gate to the windows, I got a sense of just how powerful the explosion must have been. The self-immolating zealot/idiot didn’t have nuts and bolts or ball-bearings or any such shrapnel-enhancing paraphernalia in his vest, but as you can see in the photos below, he still made quite the impression on the surrounding infrastructure.

I wish I could get down to Kandahar on my trip, but it’s looking like that won’t happen (no flights from Kuwait for a long while, and from what I hear, non-press temporary accommodations suck). Still, I should have some neat photos to share. Go read Brooks’ whole dispatch, however, for a taste of the work we still have remaining in Kandahar.

One thing I’ve noticed, just under the surface here, is that not only is Afghanistan still mostly ignored (judging by the flight schedules, budget, troop strength, and so on for Iraq and Afghanistan), but the work of NATO is mostly ignored. Rather, it is mostly held in contempt. What a terrible idea—the Canadians in particular (and the Australians! and Brits!) do really damned good work in the south, even if they still make big mistakes. Brooks is helping to catalogue their work, which is just as difficult as our own. They deserve our thanks as well.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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