Thursday, February 17, 2005

The "storm of a century" beginning to thaw

You might all have already read that Afghanistan is being pummelled with the "worst" storm in many decades. Many of the elders don't even remember sno being on the mountains around Khost bowl, and now they're covered with the white stuff. It's the "worst" because as you might also know, a state of emergency has been called, several roads are closed due to snow and mudslides (roads truly are the lynchpin to any state: they provide security, economic development and access to much needed emergency and other services), many vilages are without power and cannot provide food or warmth to their inhabitants, and even humanitarian assistance cannot be flown in due to the bad weather.
I remember when I returned from Simone's dissertation defense that a change had occurred. There was a change in the climatic weather (it had gotten cold almost overnight) as well as in the political environment (it was right after the Presidential election). "Things" have been quiet: the ACF (relatively fair weather anti-coalition forces don't maneuver much in the winter),and most of the country has been disabled from most development efforts, it's just to difficult to move.
Two days ago, the weather changed in this Afghan Florida known as Khost. Albeit, we have continued with much of our work in the lower elevations, the mountainous areas could not support cement work or other activities. I was almost shocked at how much work is being done in downtown, not only by us, the foreigners, but by the municipality and district sub-governors. They appear to recognize that we have a limited window (until the relatively myopic American public grows tired of supporting this effort) to move as far forward as we all can...together. And that's the part that most imporesses me. Whether in uniform or not, we are almost always welcomed into an area and made aware of what the locals are doing on their own - they have figured out that this is the best way to gain our support. Many locals attribute the strong winter and much needed end of an almsot decade long drought to Allah being pleae: no more poppies and working with the enablers, instead of seeking to prolong any war.
Today I ahve no meetings and am wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I indeed feel like this is the Spring, the fresh and new beginning, of a new future for Afghanistan. One that they will determine on their own, with a little help from their friends.
On a personal note, we had also not recieved mail in nearly two months, and yesterday I finally recieved my Pashto language CDROMs, whcih I am dedicated to studying once a month. The little bit I have already learned already opens doors; I can't wait until I can actually converse to gain more insight.


Blogger Mileah said...

What happened to my comment?

11:37 AM  
Blogger Mileah said...


Andy you may want to go over to my site and read the comments on this post:

One of my blog buddies tried to give you a big ol' welcome and couldn't get the comments to work. Anyhoo that's just my way of writing a lot of stuff when all I'm really doing is testing the comments.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Miss Fabulous said...

Welcome to the blogsphere! Keep writing!

4:31 PM  
Blogger The Chronic Curmudgeon said...

Andy - welcome to the blogosphere, and thank you! I'll be linking to you and trying to send a few people your way tonight as a welcome... stay safe and I'll look forward to reading more from you.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Shar said...

I just wanted to stop by and say hello and welcome also. I got your link from curmudgeon.

9:29 AM  

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