On the 20th March Afghanistan celebrated the New Year. It is now 1383. It did not start very auspiciously with a few crushed to death and many injured in Mazar where thousands went to celebrate.
Rocket propelled grenades have been fired at a UN team looking at possible voter registration sites in a provenance near the Pakistan boarder. Operational plans for the registration are being changed again. Apparently enough people decided that three weeks to register about 9 million was not very practical. The time frame now is not very clear but elections will happen in some form before the American presidential elections. September is the best guess at the moment. A number of good, yes good, UN staff are leaving or about to. One occupying a top position said it was about time the UN learned from experience. 'The UN's method is not working. It is time to rethink and change'. This will not happen of course. Moral is low and many are trying to leave the sinking ship.
One of the most powerful warlords in the country, Ismail Khan, is not too pleased as his son was assassinated yesterday. So far over a 100 have been killed and the commander responsible for the assassination has retreated to the hills. Ismail Khan is not the sort to forget even if his son was a corrupt alcohol-drinking womanizer. As the commander allegedly responsible for the killing was put there by the central government there is talk of a conflict between Kazai and the Northern Alliance. 1,500 soldiers of the national army have been sent there to maintain order.
A couple of friends of mine missed death by seconds recently when an anti tank mine was electronically detonated only 10 seconds in front of their vehicle.
I may have another job with IOM (International Organisation for Migration) but still in Afghanistan. I am likely to be going to Kandahar prior to this. Apparently the civic education team is not very strong there and not enough women registered and they want me to kick start it. Kandahar is very much Taliban territory where Islam is far more conservative. I would love to do a mass registration of women there and then get out fast.