Shattered Idyll in Kabul (Politico)


KABUL  January 24th, 2014


Last July, as I prepared to leave Kabul after a two-year stint as a journalist for Reuters, I visited La Taverna du Liban, a small Lebanese restaurant a few blocks from where I lived and worked. There was no electricity that day, and the waiter shrugged politely when I mentioned it. I wasn't a regular at Taverna--this was my...READ MORE

Photo: Michael Foley Photography (Flickr)

The Long Haul: The monumental task of packing up a war (Foreign Policy Magazine)


KABUL September/October, 2013


At the sprawling Bush Market deep within Afghanistan's capital, the American war is for sale. The maze of some 500 interconnected stores, named for the U.S. president who invaded in 2001, is a chaotic emporium brimming with goods carted in by truck to supply NATO troops...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

This is what happens when you ban male press from a female rock fest in Afghanistan (The Gender Report)


KABUL  May 29, 2013


At the end of last month, the Lycee Esteqlal, the French school in central Kabul, hosted the country’s largest ever female rock festival in Afghan history. It took place on the first day of the four-day Sound Central fest, set up three years ago as an oasis of rock in the midst of war...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

Afghan female rock fest triumphs, but anxiety over future looms (Reuters)


KABUL  May 1, 2013


More than 400 Afghan women and girls jumped from their seats, screaming and even headbanging to rock and rap music at an all-female music festival in the capital of Kabul, which organisers say was the largest such event in the country's history...READ MORE

Photo: isafmedia

Leaning Out: How the United States is abandoning Afghanistan's women (Foreign Policy)


KABUL  Mar 20, 2013


In the months leading up to the 1929 overthrow of King Amanullah, the dynamic Afghan reformer whose wife Queen Soraya notoriously tore off her headscarf in public, historians say, the girls and women of Kabul detected change in the air. They shied away from the handful of schools he had painstakingly opened for them, and reluctantly took back the veil, ambitiously declared optional by the king only one year before...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

Exiting U.S. general says Afghan women's rights are key (Reuters)


KABUL  Feb 9, 2013


Advancing women's rights in Afghanistan is key to preventing the Taliban from reimposing a radical form of Islam once most foreign troops leave by the end of 2014, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces said on Saturday...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

Once a symbol of new Afghanistan, can policewomen survive? (Reuters)


KABUL  Dec 19, 2012


Shortly after Friba joined the Afghan National Police, she gave herself the nickname "dragon" and vowed to bring law and order to her tormented homeland. Five years later, she is tired of rebuffing the sexual advances of male colleagues, worries the budget for the female force will shrink and fears the government will abandon them....READ MORE

Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

Iran pushes out Afghans as regional power-play heats up (Reuters)


HERAT  Dec 2, 2012


Ghaus worked in Iran for five years but has nothing to show for it. All he has are memories of being jailed, beaten and sent home to Afghanistan. Afghanistan's oil-rich western neighbor has for years been a destination for Afghans seeking work or fleeing war. Afghanistan and Iran share a language, and cultural and historical links...READ MORE

Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development

Russia eyes rebirth in classrooms of former foe Afghanistan (Reuters)


KABUL  Nov 19, 2012


Russian culture and language are making a surprising comeback in Afghanistan, where the Soviets fought a disastrous decade-long war, as Moscow vies to regain influence ahead of the planned withdrawal of foreign troops...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

Violence stalks women workers in Afghanistan (Reuters)


KABUL  Sep 29, 2012


Muzhgan Masoomi's attacker stabbed her 14 times with a thick blade used to slaughter animals, tearing wide gashes in her flesh before leaving the government worker for dead on the outskirts of the Afghan capital...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

Afghan ice cream sweetens business appetite (Reuters)


HERAT  July 27, 2012


In a nation wrenched by decades of war, perhaps it is of no surprise that one of Afghanistan's most successful brands manufactures what is sorely lacking from the conflict-scarred landscape: joy...READ MORE

Photo: isafmedia

New Afghan law ignites fear over shrinking press freedoms (Reuters)


KABUL  July 1, 2012


Afghan journalists are locked in a row with their government over media freedoms, in what appears to be the latest attempt by authorities to appeal to the more conservative side of society ahead of the pullout of most foreign troops...READ MORE

Photo: The United States Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan

As foreign troops leave, Afghan refugees and poverty increase (Reuters)


MAZAR-E-SHARIF  May 14, 2012


Gulam recalls the evening she fled her home in northern Afghanistan on foot, running with her teen daughters under the cloak of darkness to avoid cooking a dinner for 20 Taliban insurgents...READ MORE

Photo: Joel van Houdt

Stress of war prompts soldiers to take Afghan dogs home (Reuters)


KABUL  May 4, 2012


Spot made the clandestine journey from the Afghan Taliban stronghold of Helmand to the capital Kabul, where he is undergoing medical treatment before moving to the United States to live with the family of the Marine who rescued him...READ MORE

Photo: The United States Army

Afghan woman MP sets sights on presidency (Reuters)


KABUL  Apr 14, 2012


Condemned to die shortly after birth for being a girl, outspoken Afghan member of parliament Fawzia Koofi lived to become a champion of women's rights and is now eyeing the presidency in 2014...READ MORE

Photo: Nevil Zaveri

Afghan amputees a grim signature of more powerful bombs (Reuters)


KABUL  Apr 12, 2012


Gently massaging the soft flesh under his knees, 20-year-old Abdul Ahmat recalls the suicide bomb six months ago that destroyed his legs...READ MORE

Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development

Lifting the veil on Afghanistan's female addicts (Reuters)


KABUL  Apr 1, 2012


Anita lifted the sky-blue burqa from her face, revealing glazed eyes and cracked lips from years of smoking opium, and touched her saggy belly, still round from giving birth to her seventh child a month ago...READ MORE

Photo: isafmedia

Taliban says the U.S. to repeat Soviet defeat in Afghanistan (Reuters)


KABUL  Feb 15, 2012


The Taliban used the 23rd anniversary of the humiliating Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan on Wednesday to taunt the United States that it would suffer the same fate as preparations to hand over security to a shaky government are underway...READ MORE

Photo: Joel van Houdt

From policing 9/11 to studying Dari in Afghanistan (Reuters)


BAMIYAN  Sep 10, 2011


Staff sergeant Luis Badillo prefers to leave his NATO base for weekend dinners, and head instead to local cafes where he can share jokes with Afghan colleagues in their native language...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

How will Afghan women fare in Taliban reconciliation? (Reuters)


KABUL  June 13, 2011


The gaggles of giggling schoolgirls in their black uniforms and flowing white hijabs seen across Afghanistan's cities have become symbolic of how far women's rights have come since the austere rule of the Taliban was toppled a decade ago...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

In Kabul's only synagogue, Afghan merchants open up shop (Reuters)


KABUL  June 1, 2011


A lattice of corrugated iron Star of Davids marks Afghanistan's only working synagogue, a white-washed, two-storey building tucked into a sidestreet in the centre of Kabul. Kebabs, carpets and flowers are served and sold on the ground floor of the synagogue, which has been transformed into businesses over the last 18 months by the country's sole remaining Jew, who lives upstairs in a small pink room...READ MORE

Photo: Amie Ferris-Rotman

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