A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Election during wartime

With the election over and the midnight oil still burning hours past, I thought it only fair to follow up the pessimistic diatribe of earlier with a bit of euphoria.  My team returned a few hours ago from an election night joint press conference, where some of Afghanistan's most powerful leaders discussed the eventful day and the period of time which led up to it.  Since the 'principles' of ours were the ones coordinating and preparing their bosses (the Ministers of Defense and Interior, respectively) for the big conference, we got to take pride in a job well done by the entire departments we advise.

Afghanistan's Tolo News on the day...
IEC calls the elections a success

The greatest feeling comes from the news that millions of Afghans voted today for their chosen representatives, with turnout higher than anticipated in most of the country.  The other good vibes flow from a few key things my boss pointed out: the knowledge that Afghans provided effective security against long odds, that their ministries conducted a highly effective information engagement on their own, that the police and army acknowledged the growth of their force and its increased professionalism as major factors in their success, and that we got to report the good news back to those who've worked hard for results on this end.

(Yep, I'm plugging myself again...had a hand in this one.)
Afghan forces secure election

Besides the conference itself which capped the night, a number of things stood out on this cool-weather, earthquake-aftershock-afflicted, blue-sky day.  The drive to the somewhat-secret press hall was a good reminder that there's no better way to travel than in the convoy of the Interior Minister, who by the way is in charge of all the police in the land.  Anyone who thinks that Afghans can't manage outstanding command and control needs to ride in one of these convoys...with no notice, the minister says "go" and the convoy takes off, with the entire route blocked off from traffic and guarded with extra arms because the word went out.  So you may find yourself (hey, Talking Heads again!) in a large automobile, zipping through main avenues and circles and through zig-zag barriers that would normally suffer you long delays.

Before that, though, was the thoughtful time spent gazing out from the rooftop of the ministry prior to sunset over Kabul, as we waited for the show to get on its way.  Here it is, election day, with so much fear about what would transpire...and what do we get but a kite show.  Everywhere we looked, four or eight or a dozen kites were up.  It was a magnificent scene, really...and a reassuring sight.

Here is the link to some photos from today, some by me and the good ones by Ms. Pam Smith...
Flickr: Election Day Afghanistan


Blogger Joneser said...

Another very cool piece, Major. I can't imagine what it must be like to ride in a convoy! You do such a great job of painting a picture of what the experience must be like in Afghanistan. Simply amazing.

September 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Slappipotamus said...

Somewhere, David Byrne is smiling in his oversized suit jacket with shoulderpads ...

(By the way, my "word verification" in order to post this today is "yarrhe" - which sounds a lot like how one would spell the jarhead growl/cheer/outburst ... how appropriate!)

September 30, 2010 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger yomistast said...

great story cuz. I'm late on posting these things. I'm glad the election was a "success." Some of the stories about the the candidates bring to mind if each of five families had people running for office....

October 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM  

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