On The Road

Occasional ramblings from a rambling journalist

Peaceful Kabul

Kabul - backdrop to peace talks

Despite the regular news reports of violence and kidnappings in Afghanistan, the sense I got as I arrived in Kabul this morning, from conversations with local people, was that ordinary Afghans are really fed up with war. As if to underscore the point, a delegation from the Pakistan government is meeting at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, for talks between the Hamid Karzai led-Afghanistan government and Taliban representatives. They’re reportedly aiming high – setting the ground for negotiations on ending the Afghan war. Let’s pray they’re successful – for everyone’s sake.

  • Comments Off on Peaceful Kabul
  • Filed under: Jon's Journeys
  • Afghan people

    You’ve got to hand it to the Taliban, they certainly know how to work the media to further their heinous objectives. A report from the International Crisis group tells how the organisation is using a full range of media, from web-sites to mobile ‘phones, to tap into strains of Afghan nationalism and exploit policy failures by the Kabul government and its international backers. Using a website in the name of the former regime – the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – they dispense leadership statements and inflated tales of battlefield exploits.

    But for the largely rural and illiterate population, great efforts are being put into preaching and giving battle reports via DVDs, audio cassettes, shabnamah (night letters – pamphlets or leaflets usually containing threats) and traditional nationalist songs and poems. The Taliban also increasingly uses mobile phones to spread its message. And their strategy seems to be working. Even though few actively support the Taliban, the result is weakening public support for nation-building.

    Little wonder one of the key recommendations is DON’T block the flow of information, but rather disclose more, in an open and timely manner, and in that way build morale. I sure hope they catch on, there’s a lot at stake.

    Click here to read the full PDF report.

  • Comments Off on Using media to win hearts and minds
  • Filed under: comment