Shortly after noon on the day of his funeral, I talked about Ron and his life and death with my friend Ali, one of the young Afghan Peace Volunteers whose hospitality I’ve been enjoying in Kabul this winter. Sensing my sadness, Ali listened intently. When I finally finished, he looked at me and said, “You rest. The rest of the day is free for you.” Within an hour, Ali’s concerns had found their way to the rest of the young men in our small community. Zekerullah came to our shared bedroom and lit a fire. “It’s cold in here,” was all he said. Each one of these unbelievable young men came to the room and shared his condolences for a man he’d never met.
Hey, so these, you know, concerns about this dramatically shocking increasing malnutrition rate, something that for instance, I’m reading this blog from Kathy Kelly, it would take 5 cents to subsidize iodized salt for one child for one year. You know the entire 4-year funding of the World Food Programme and the Global Alliance would, I mean it’d be nothing compared to what we pay to keep a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Can you talk about the problem and the shocking figures?
The cost of maintaining one U.S. soldier has recently risen to 2.1. million dollars per year. The amount of money spent to keep three U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in 2014 could almost cover the cost of a four year program to deliver fortified foods to 15 million Afghan people.
by Eva Jasiewicz
Mention Afghanistan and most people think of the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, caves, drones, dust, and burkas. It’s a country few of us have a relationship with, even though our government has been at war with it three times, right now being the third and longest modern-day occupation for Britain to date.
by Ewa Jasiewicz
I’ve been in Kabul a week now, living in the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteer (APV) house on the border of District 3. The area is a mish-mash of wealthy mirror-windowed mansions fronted by surly gun-on-the-lap security guards, crumbling mudhuts, open sewers, children in ragged clothes warming themselves on burning rubbish, a fake McDonalds and Subway with directly lifted logos, and Kabul’s sole waterpark, for men only and 500 Afghanis a dip.
Date: January 8, 2014
Location: Greshk District, Helmand Province
Circumstances: U.S. forces have accidentally shot dead a 4-year-old boy. A spokesman for the governor of Helmand Province, Omar Zwak, said on January 10 that U.S. Marines mistakenly shot the boy because visibility was poor.
NATO/ISAF Response/Acknowledgement: Reuters quotes a spokesman for the NATO-led force in Afghanistan as saying the matter would be investigated and that all possible measures are taken to avoid civilian casualties.
Kabul—The fire in the Chaman e Babrak camp began in Nadiai’s home shortly after noon. She had rushed her son, who had a severe chest infection, to the hospital. She did not know that a gas bottle, used for warmth, was leaking; when the gas connected with a wood burning stove, flames engulfed the mud hut in which they lived and extended to adjacent homes, swiftly rendering nine extended families homeless and destitute in the midst of already astounding poverty. By the time seven fire trucks had arrived in response to the fire at the refugee camp, the houses were already burned to the ground.
In 2002, Najib, about 12 years old, already had the ‘profile’ of what some of us, particularly political and religious elites, may consider the ‘enemy’: orphaned, poor, Afghan, Pashtun, Muslim, and from Kandahar, the supposed heartland of the Taliban.
Najib befriended me on the streets of Quetta, Pakistan, where he collected trash to find bread.
If he was alive today, 23, Fighting-Age Male, he may very well be on Obama’s kill list.
Kabul, Afghanistan is “home” to hundreds of thousands of children who have no home. Many of them live in squalid refugee camps with families that have been displaced by violence and war. Bereft of any income in a city already burdened by high rates of unemployment, families struggle to survive without adequate shelter, clothing, food or fuel. Winter is especially hard for refugee families. Survival sometimes means sending their children to work on the streets, as vendors, where they often become vulnerable to well organized gangs that lure them into drug and other criminal rings.