I started by writing of how the French aid worker was kidnapped in Kabul last week, but have just deleted it. Working for a French organisation with connections to those affected, I’ve heard little else recently, apart from the plans of several other small French NGOs to repatriate their expatriate staff, and there’s no need to repeat the details. Needles to say, it isn’t a fun story, and it hasn’t been the best of weeks. It’s been a fucking terrible week for some.
Though a good one for others: two journalists who had been kidnapped, one of whom was taken a little way out of Kabul three weeks ago, have both been released. We had heard about it in Kabul, but there was no mention of it in the international media. As is often the case with kidnappings, they are not reported to try and aid the negotiations. So it was a surprise when the most recent case became headline news within hours. Judging by the progress of the story throughout the day it seemed like someone in Paris must have released the identity of the kidnapped man.
There’s a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez about kidnappings in Columbia, but it’s years since I read it and I don’t remember it being particularly good. Not sure why I’m mentioning it actually, but my mind’s wondering a little this evening.
It’s been hard to concentrate. I have two projects I need to complete before the end of the year and both now seem like they might be scuppered by separate security incidents in the provinces. One should be OK but is impossible to plan for with a high degree of uncertainty about weather, flights, budgets and the rotation of the planets. The other I could remotely manage, but that means sending one of my Afghan colleagues to a region there’s not a cat in hells chance I’m going to, and neither of us would feel so happy about that.
I think the decision of some NGOs to evacuate staff isn’t a particularly good one, but at the same time am not that sure how much useful work I can do in current conditions. When I arrived back in Afghanistan, I half had it mind that when it got to the stage where I could no longer walk in the streets, then that would be the time to pack it in and go home. With new security rules in place it’s got to that point, but I don’t feel like leaving yet. Just feel frustrated and dis-empowered, which makes me feel determined not to be beaten by these bastards with the guns, and rather tired.