Rud means river in Dari. The hari rud flows from the Hindu Kush mountains in central Afghanistan westwards through the provinces of Ghor and Herat into the deserts of Turkmenistan. Harry Rud (you see what I did there?) spends much of his time wondering along its banks, contemplating its flow and occasionally drinking from it and getting dysentery.

For the time being at least I intend to keep this blog anonymous and so am carefully disguising myself underwater. Not that I’ve got anything to hide of course. I am a European migrant worker in Afghanistan, working for a non-governmental organisation. And I like water. I have been in landlocked Afghanistan since July 2007. For the last five months I’ve been keeping a diary but have now, for reasons I can’t quite fathom, decided to go on-line. Let us hope my writing here proves more interesting then my scribbled diary entries.  

If you so wish, and please do feel free, you can email me at: harryrud [at] gmail dot com. Or brighten up my day and leave a comment somewhere around here.

For the sake of form I should also add that the views expressed here are not those of any organisation I may or may not be associated with in any way, and are the products of my own deranged thoughts alone. Or possibly those of lizards.


18 Responses to “About”

  1. Phil Says:

    Hi – doing a bit of research on expat life in Kabul and wondered whether you’d mind telling me about La Cantina, Gandamacks and L’Atmosphere. There are lots of knowing little hints all over many of the Afghanistan blogs I’ve read, and I can’t help wondering what goes on there.
    (the research, incidentally, is for a short story compilation)

  2. islandbridget Says:

    Hey ‘Harry’, 🙂

    Your blogs are very interesting. I also started aid work in July 2007, in northern Vanuatu. I train teachers and mothers about child development, working for an organisation that builds kindergartens. I did the same,kept a dairy… for six months or so.. then just decided.. for some reason to start putting it on a blog. About a week ago.. or two.
    Maybe its a bridge from isolation.

    Anyway.. I’m glad you decided too, its nice to hear interesting things that other people out in the world are doing.

    Good Luck…


  3. ash Says:

    hey “hari”-
    i like your blog, i like reading about the great things you’re doing there. i hope you don’t mind, but i put a link to your blog…on mine. i think my readers would love to read about what you’re doing in afghanistan to help.

  4. Matthew Devereux Edwards Says:

    ‘Harry’ – I have just discovered this blog. It looks fascinating and I look forward to giving it a proper perusal in due course.

    I hear you are back to the land of hilk and money in the very near future, and I anticipate your return with zeal.

    I am hoping, as well, that you will return to a country that has finally managed to elect its first Green MP in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election on July 10th:


    You are very warmly welcomed over to my homestead to chew the fat as soon as you’re back.

    Love from Londinium


  5. Aryaman Bhatnagar Says:

    Dear Sir/Ma’am,

    I am writing to introduce to you The YP Foundation (TYPF) and one of its projects- Bridge The Gap.

    Founded in July 2002 by young people across New Delhi (with support
    from the India Habitat Centre), TYPF (formerly known as The Youth
    Parliament) is an organization that is committed to developing
    innovative ventures by young minds, facilitating leadership skills and
    thinking power and increasing awareness on issues of global

    Bridge The Gap is a cultural exchange programme between Indian and
    Afghan students based in the city which uses the medium of films,
    literature and discussion groups to engage the two communities with
    one another. The project works with the aim of creating a platform to
    promote the interaction, understanding and sensitization between two
    different communities and cultures.

    Bridge The Gap will be publishing a magazine “The Bridge:Understanding Afghanistan Today” which seeks to provide an alternative image of Afghanistan than the one which is provided in the media. Through this magazine we wish to focus on the post-2001 developments that have been taking place in various spheres in Afghanistan; on the culture and history of Afghanistan; the personal experiences of people who have stayed and worked in Afghanistan or interacted with Afghans; the role of the media and external forces in shaping the situation of Afghanistan etc.

    We were hoping that since you maintain a blog and write about Afghanistan you would be interested in submitting something for our publication as well which could fit in the above mentioned theme.

    For more information about the organization and the please feel free to contact me at yp.aryamanbhatnagar@gmail.com

    Hoping to hear from you soon with a positive response!

    Thank You!



  6. Marianna Says:

    Khubasti? Chiturasti? Bakherasti?
    I can’t believe I discovered your blog just two minutes ago…when I’ve been living in Kabul, as humanitarian worker, for two years (Sep 2006 – Aug 2008)!!! I just read a few pages and I am wondering: “Do I know him/her”? Well, I’ll keep reading…but if you know me, let me know…after all I’m out now 😉

    PS. Thanks for all the nice memories you are bringing up in my mind…far away but still so close to Kabul!

  7. Andrius Kulikauskas Says:

    Hi, I love your writing. I lead the Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt for serving and organizing independent thinkers around the world. I am based in Lithuania and I’m writing a proposal to Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry to organize a “sneakernet” to link Ghor province with Kabul, see: http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Afghanistan Perhaps you met Albertas Dusevicius? he was stationed in Ghor for half a year or so. We are currently setting up a sneakernet in Kenya http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Sneakernet where we did our most amazing work, the Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net We organized 100 peacemakers on the ground to avert genocide in Kenya. I invite you to join any of our groups such as Janet Feldman’s Holistic Helping http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/ I appreciate any help you might give in linking me up with Afghan thinkers, teachers, doctors, engineers, clerics and foreigners as well.

  8. Herati Boy Says:

    Hmm, interesting posts. To me aid workers are mostly confused individuals who do not fit in their own worlds. sometimes good chaps but usually opportunistic. they bring their own values and think afghan people need them. where was the west, i say, when we were suffering through the taliban and civil war and russians? while i appreciate those who come to afghanistan to learn as well as teach, i just can’t stand those freaks who read a book about afghanistan and learn a few words of dari/pashtu and think they know afghanistan. for those loners who come here and have their own worlds, trying to find themselves or some meaning in this crazy life and passing through here like a shadow in a dream, while having good intentions i salute you. I hope afghanistan can protect and nurture you. there is beauty in this ruggedness and love in this hateful war. don’t forget, this is the land of zoroaster, rumi, al-biruni, etc. there is wisdom even in the dust should you know what you are seeking.


  9. John B Says:

    I found this blog totally by accident while looking for an image of the Test Card (don’t ask!). I ended up spending over and hour reading about life in Afghanistan.

    I’m one of those people who know they should be out there, wherever that may be, doing more for people, but somehow never get beyond the thinking-about-it stage. That’s why I admire you and people like you who get out there, putting yourselves at risk, foregoing the creature comforts of over-consuming, overfed western countries, to give something to people who need it.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of the blog.

  10. voyageusemondiale Says:

    Hey Harry,

    I stumbled upon your blog six months ago and really enjoy reading it. I just arrived in Tajikistan (Badakshan) for an eight month placement with a local NGO. I’ve got big plans to cross the river for the Afghan cultural festival in Sept.

    If you are even in the Pamirs, drop me an email. We’ll get a drink.
    Oh, my blog: http://www.worldtravelnotes.wordpress.com

    Please keep writing!


  11. James Says:


    I found your website whilst searching for ‘Remnants of an Army’ and was engrossed with your ruminations. I look forward to reading your blog in full although I understand that you have returned to the UK so I can only expect a finite amount of material.

    I currently work for an MP in the UK, whilst I enjoy my work I feel that the energy I spend in providing assistance to the needy and incompetent of this country could be better spent. I would be keen to know how you ended up in Afghanistan, I am 25 and post-graduate existence isn’t as fulfilling as the uni brochure promised.

    I hope the re-adjustment pains have subsided and it goes without saying that I would be extremely grateful for your response.



  12. Ahsan Says:

    Your description of the afghan election is very close to how I would describe it. Being an afghan myself I have been asked about the fraud in the elections and Abdullahs pulling out. I don’t know why we are all so naive as to think that everything is supposed to have a simple answer. Did fraud happen? Yes. Was Karzai himself involved? very unlikely, don’t think so. Did Abdullah have a winning chance? No way. So Karzai would have won second time? Definitely. Does Karzai have all the good intentions? oh yeah, of-course. Can he deliver?? we will have to wait and see. Is Abdullah the bad guy? No, No.
    Lets see if your next blog will have something on corruption in Afghanistan? You will have to define what corruption is. Afghan definition will be different to a European definition of corruption.

  13. Fouzia Younis-Suleman Says:

    Dear Harry,

    You have probably heard by now about the conference on Afghanistan being hosted by the British government in London on 28 January. Afghanistan: The London Conference is major event that is already beginning to attract headlines. It is anticipated that a large number of international delegations will attend, including an Afghan delegation led by President Karzai.

    You can find out more about the conference on the official conference website here: http://afghanistan.hmg.gov.uk/en/conference/

    On the conference website you can:
    • Sign up for updates on the latest information about the conference.
    • Ask questions directly to British government ministers using Yoosk. All you have to do is click the ‘ask’ button below the relevant Minister’s name. Questions will be answered promptly on the same page. The first batch of replies have already been posted.
    • Log on to watch conference proceedings live as they happen.

    I will be happy to answer any further questions you may have about the conference.

    Also, please let me know if you are interested in writing articles/blogs in the lead upto the conference. I will be happy to help or provide further information.

    With best wishes,


    Fouzia Younis- Suleman| Digital Campaigns Manager, Afghanistan and Pakistan policy | Digital Diplomacy Group | Communications Directorate | http://www.fco.gov.uk | Visit our blogs at http://blogs.fco.gov.uk

  14. Mercedes Bligh Says:

    Where are you? Miss your posts.

  15. Zoe Says:

    I’m an Australian university student doing research on aid worker blogging and was hoping you’d be able to complete a quick survey I’ve created- here’s the link:
    I realise from recent posts that you’re not working in the field anymore but your insight is still valuable to my research and your contribution would be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.
    All the best,

  16. types of kisses Says:

    You could definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  17. Joyce Says:

    Dear Harry,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Afghanistan, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  18. Joyce Says:


    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.

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