Saturday, April 26, 2008

Direct from Afghanistan
The forgotten war

A Daily Kos poster, profmarcus, is in Kabul and reports what he sees.

from the time i emerged from immigration and customs at kabul international airport and was driven in to town, i've been struck by just how virtually nonexistent the basic infrastructure is in the city... (i haven't been outside of kabul, so, right now, that's my only point of reference...) roads are shit... water and sewer is shit... the kabul river that flows through town is nothing but a sewage canal cum garbage dump with stone wall embankments... municipally-supplied electric power is spotty at best, most everybody has a back-up diesel electric power generator and most of the compounds housing internationals are powered exclusively by generators...

landline telephone service is a joke... there are 4-5 cellphone providers and they have done a relatively decent job of blanketing the country with service... thank god, because, without them, telephone communication wouldn't exist... internet service is provided by satellite downlink providers who beam service via microwave to those who can afford their usurious rates... needless to say, international organizations are paying through the nose... i know internet cafes are relatively plentiful but, because i'm not allowed to get out and about without an armed escort, i can't speak to that first-hand...

the pollution is ghastly, combining the exhaust of dense traffic with dust from mostly unpaved roads, the exhaust of the generators, the smoke and fumes of the wood and kerosene that's used for heating and cooking, and the general dust of a very dry climate... the city infrastructure might have been adequate at one time, pre-war, 35 years ago, for a population of 250,000 max., but now there's 5 million people trying to survive here...

There's a lot more. And he also thinks he knows what could have been done by the U.S. invaders to fix it. And he talks with Afghans. Go read it all.

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