Comments: 1101 • Responses: 68 • Date: 2013-05-17 15:03:59 UTC
duranben600 karma2013-05-17 15:42:13 UTC
Many times, I've ended up in a house with a family who are obviously desperately poor- every time they will offer literally their last piece of bread or their last bit of water
The Afghan people I've met, even those caught in the middle of the worst fighting, airstrikes and night raids, have been unbelievably generous, warm and hospitable
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duranben311 karma2013-05-17 15:21:04 UTC
I'll think you'll see a channel fairly soon...I love their approach. traditional TV can be so myopic. Vice aren't aware of what other stations are doing, all they want to do is cover the important, interesting or amusing stories
duranben269 karma2013-05-17 16:00:22 UTC
Foreign forces and the Taliban seem happy to meet up and have a fight. It almost feels like football hooliganism with guns. But it's impossible to avoid civilian casualties out there, there have been thousands and probably ten times as many have lost limbs. You wouldn't believe how many triple and quadruple amputees there have been
duranben197 karma2013-05-17 15:11:32 UTC
Not for a long time, although in some provinces there has been significant process- and there are some exceptionally brave women pushing boundaries and challenging the old order. But in rural Afghanistan the situation remains bleak. Women can be locked up for the "moral crime" of running away from violent husbands or arranged marriages. It's a common mistake to think that the Taliban and our allies have different views on women's rights. All too often, they don't.
duranben153 karma2013-05-17 15:19:44 UTC
The toughest thing is always seeing civilians who are stuck in the middle, can't afford to flee, and often don;t know where their injured family members have been taken. Many have told me they have received no help whatsoever, from us or their government. I always dream of what could have happened if we gave 5% of the military budget to some of the amazing NGOs operating in Afghanistan, and didn't try to defeat the Taliban before attempting a serious development effort. I think things could have been radically different
duranben150 karma2013-05-17 15:36:01 UTC
get out there, find some interesting characters trying to do something exceptional, or people whose suffering you want to depict, and stay for as long as possible. Photographers are amazing at doing this, writers are sometimes very good...I try to copy them.
When you're starting out, you also have the luxury of being able to just hang around and soak things up...this is essential. I've done shoots where I feel like I'm just beginning to understand a situation and I have to go, it's so frustrating
duranben148 karma2013-05-17 15:14:10 UTC
My view is less important than many trusted Afghan friends, one of whom said to me "half the Police will vanish, half will join the Taliban." We were talking about the south...I think the whole country will be separated into warlord run fiefdoms, with the Taliban controlling much of the south and east. Many Afghan people seem to be preparing for this now, as if it has already happened
duranben147 karma2013-05-17 15:08:53 UTC
Not at all as far as I can see...many have very good relations with the troops on the ground, even after major operations, or civilian casualties. People's anger seems to aimed at the corrupt and predatory government and security forces we've put in power...
duranben137 karma2013-05-17 15:57:06 UTC
None on this recent trip. A few Brits and marines have expressed sentiments like that on previous trips...I think many will always think that if they were allowed to take the gloves over and really fight, they could have won. I've heard the same argument made about Vietnam. or if they were just given another few years...I don't agree with either.
None met their makers. One was actually promoted!
duranben137 karma2013-05-17 15:32:41 UTC
in the south, I can only fly in military helicopters and planes. Journalists are right at the bottom of the priority list for seats, so sometimes you have to wait days for a ride to take you 20km...
It's become much easier recently as the withdrawal gets under way
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