What’s Going on in Laghman?

Post image for What’s Going on in Laghman?

by Joshua Foust on 8/12/2009 · 1 comment

Laghman province, nestled between Kabul, Kapisa, Nangarhar, Kunar, and Nuristan, rarely makes it into the news. We’ve briefly mentioned the small FOB in Laghman that spends most of its focus on Western Nuristan, but there’s very little news about Laghman itself.

But there’s actually quite a bit going on. Up the Alisheng River Valley, which is notorious for ambushing the Laghman PRT and other units in the area, JD Johannes visited a shura. It was pretty interesting: a concerted attempt to resolve a militancy problem through mediation rather than a military rampage. It’s fairly standard, right down to the rosy picture all the West-friendly players given him about how these things work. But he ends with a disquieting anecdote:

As we waited for our Blackhawk to take us back to Mehtar Lam, one officer told me that he can feel the clock ticking.

“We only have a year, maybe a little more, to start making serious progress,” he said.

The Taliban knows this too.

In 2007, when the clock was ticking in Iraq, many tribal leaders and Iraqi politicians stepped up to the challenge.

The question I have in my mind is if the Afghans can hear the clock ticking and if they even care.

That’s quite the question, and one we seem to be doing a poor job wrestling with back here. Meanwhile, in Laghman, there is a flurry of construction, of girls’ schools and boys schools. There might even be some meaningful attempts to monitor notoriously corrupt construction contracts and maybe tamp down on some of the graft.

But the real problem is, we have almost no one telling stories from there. I’m glad JD Johannes is in the area, because otherwise it would be a virtual blackhole.

Valley, Laghman Province, courtesy combat.camera.


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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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{ 1 comment }

David M August 13, 2009 at 9:25 am

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/13/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

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