Showing posts with label Helmand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Helmand. Show all posts

Jan 28, 2011

Blogging workshop photos in slide show

Here are some pictures in slide show that I've been taking for past years, roughly between 2003 and 2009. Most of those recent-uploaded pictures are from my workshops that I have been teaching blogging and online journalism for Afghan youth. The workshops have sporadically been taking place between 2006 and 2009. I thought it worth to put them in slide here on my blog as to showcase my works on digital Afghanistan. I'm still working on a project to develop blogging in Afghanistan, hopefully, soon, I will come out with some good news.

Anyhow, I'm inviting you to observe these picture from very a volatile and insecure zone like Helmand to quite secure places like Herat, Bamiyan, Kunduz and Kabul.

May 24, 2010

The Independent and Accuracy

Unbelievably, The Independent has changed and deleted most parts of the article after my critic about its exaggeration and almost lying about Afghanistan's administration position towards David Bekham's visit to Helmand. That is good sign, that means it was a telling criticism that made The Independent to rectify that errors.

That shows the tolerance of criticism and believing in accuracy of The Independent. We often come across some news that are published in some newspaper that is pure hogwash but still believed true. I occasionally find them in Afghan newspapers that reading them haunts me.

The point I criticized was not only on exaggerating but more it was humiliating to Afghan people. I personally can not tolerate any kinds of contemptuous comments against anyone, especially, my country. Bekham, went to Afghanistan for a goodwill visit to meet British troops in Helmand and support them. That is a great job and I am happy for that too.

But, I wished Bekham could come with a tiny plan that he could make donation for making a soccer field to those children who lost their parents in war and for those adults that wandering around in the field of poppy in Helmand that can be easily hired by Taliban.

May 21, 2010

Beckham visits Helmand

This news is on the Independent website that says David Beckham flies out to visit British troops in Helmand. But this part must be a joke:

The Afghan government was keen for Beckham to also travel north to spend time in the capital Kabul – which would have been a considerable coup for the administration, given that his celebrity extends to the Islamic Republic. However, the plan was vetoed at an early stage.
I found it a bit snobbish and naive. Everyone knows that Afghanistan is grappling with its insecurity and series of other problems and his visit as a soccer player have nothing to do with Afghan situation. Bechkahm is famous in UK and other European countries that soccer is considered a major sport in their lives but not in Afghanistan. I'm having doubts that if you could find a few people knowing Beckham in Afghanistan, let alone the government.

It is funny that the writer insistingly says that it would have been a considerable coup for the administration that his celebrity extends to the Islamic Republic. What a funny joke I ever heard of. Sometime, lying to make things important is too hard, like this one that brings a disgusting feeling to you.

Anyway, my cousin and I were a big fun of him in 2002 World Cup when we were in Dubai but when we moved to Afghanistan, due to lack of electricity that we had to light a candle at night, it was hard to remain a fan of Beckham, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and other Brazlian soccer players.

Feb 13, 2010

The Last Nail In The Coffin For Taliban

Today, there is a huge operation going on in Marjah in Helmand. There is some good news from Helmand that NATO and ANA have been successful in their mission. Until now more than 20 members of Taliban have been killed and two NATO soldiers also have been killed.

One thing makes me concern that civilians have been prevented by Taliban to evacuate the city. Marjah is the last and the most important stronghold of the Taliban in southern Afghansitan. Most of the insurgency activities were directed from Marjah. Unlike the previous operation this will be affective. NATO and ANA forces will stay there to secure the area after the Taliban whipped out. The Operation Moshtrak (together) is a good answer to those Taliban who rejected to negotiate with government. However, there is nothing has been left to be done by the US and Afghan government. Hopefully this operation will be the last nail in coffin for Taliban.

Also, today is a Valentine Day, a decent day in which people exchange flowers, cards and loving sentiment to a beloved one. I assume there are many others like me a dateless man. However, being a dateless on this day can evoke loneliness feeling for many but unlike others for me as a newcomer in this country, it is different. But I hope the oasis for lonely will be end soon for everyone.

Aug 2, 2009

Learning Online Journalism and Writing Blogs in Helmand Province

Note that this article was first published in the (direct link of this interview)and if you reproduce this article you must retain this notice.

Introduction: A surprising number of Afghans blog on the Internet and even more want to learn how. Nasim Fekrat has been at the forefront of helping Afghans use modern technology to communicate with each other and the rest of the world – but it can be a dangerous business.’s Jane Morse talked with him earlier this year while he was in United States on a fellowship (see: Eager to Learn About the World, Tech Savy Afghans Turn to Blogs.) In a new guest post, Nasim talks about his latest efforts to teach blogging in Helmand province, the largest in Afghanistan and the world’s top opium-producing region. The province is the site of ongoing deadly fighting between the Taliban and American, British and other NATO troops.

This is the sixth day that I am in the war-torn province of Helmand. My friends in other provinces do not know what I am here for, and before I explain it to them, they ask me, “What the heck are you doing there?”

I am in Helmand province to conduct a training session on online journalism and blog writing. We had planned for owners of 20 media outlets to participate in this two-day training session, but we received more applications than we expected. We were unaware that we would get 28 people for the training session, including reporters, poets and writers.

You may think that we had everything we needed for the training class, but we did not have everything. We had just two computers that connected to the Internet and we had 28 journalists. Every one of them required the Internet during the training. It may be unbelievable for readers or funny to them, but we did it. Every one of the participants had a blog entry by the end of the training session and had posted two subjects on their blogs. Almost all of the blogs were written in Pashto (one of the official and most common languages in Afghanistan) and discussed subjects such as culture, literature, community, politics and agriculture in Helmand province.

When I asked the participants what made them participate in the training, our discussion taught me something new. One of them, who was familiar with Wikipedia, told me: “I want to inform people about Helmand province.”

He said that whenever he goes to the Internet site to search Lashkargah (the capital city of Helmand province) and Helmand province, he only finds results that center on drugs, war and violence.

Therefore, he is learning to utilize blogging in order to inform the world that Helmand is not a place of drugs and war but has agriculture, culture and literary works which have not been widely publicized.

One of the participants told me that he wants to discuss the security challenges in Helmand province using blogging, and he wants to hear opinions from other bloggers concerning the operation in Helmand province and find solutions for the conflict in this province.

The enthusiasm for the training was more than expected and the reason for that is clear: This is a war-torn province and nobody is willing to put himself in danger in order to conduct training for journalists. But for me, as a young Afghan from the generation of war victims and refugees, I love to serve my country and my fellow citizens. I want to teach them the things that I have learned. I like to spread the culture of blogs and online journalism in Afghanistan among the younger generations.

This was the third workshop on blogging and online journalism which was conducted with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the blogging Institution of Afghanistan in Helmand province. This program has been scheduled in other provinces and the next workshop will be in Bamyan province.

Read more about Nasim’s efforts at his English language blog, Afghan Lord at

You can see his photo gallery The World Through My Eyes at

Additional photo galleries by Nasim can be found on NATO’s website, as well as at

Jul 27, 2009

Sunset in Helmand

Jul 11, 2009

Trip to Helmand

As we were about to land, suddenly the aircraft whirling round up and down in the sky, panic spreading through the passengers, an Indian who is sitting in front of me grabbed the backseat and looking on the right side.

A fighter jet was moving close to us. Brad who has called me in the plane that we are going together in media center told me this later when we were in the car towards PRT media center.

I never had this experience before, my mood was changing, almost nauseate. The aircraft bent to the right and start landing immediately.

After we got briefing and asked our blood types, we were asked to wear body armor and get into the car. The car drove in dust among several other cars that were divided to different directions.

I met Ben in PRT, who was my only contact. I had chance to check my e-mail and brows the news websites. Write you more here.