published by Justin Podur on Fri, 06/07/2013 - 18:28
SPOILER ALERT: This article, like many of my conversations, contains massive spoilers about George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books and the HBO Game of Thrones series.
I was handed George R R Martin's Game of Thrones in 1997, by a friend who has recommended many of the books I've read over the years. He warned me that it was a little different, and that he was curious about my reaction.
published by Justin Podur on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 19:11
KABUL - Marjan, may he rest in peace, was a lion and is the most famous resident of Kabul Zoo. Born in 1976, he was brought to Kabul just before the Soviet invasion. He survived those years, killed a man who snuck into his cage, was blinded by grenades thrown by the man's brother (the brother was then killed by persons unknown). They say he died the day of the US invasion October 7, 2001, but Wikipedia says he survived all the way to January 2002.
published by Justin Podur on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 12:30
KABUL – Floated for three years, reconciliation with the Taliban is now official policy in Afghanistan, endorsed by US Secretary of State John Kerry in his joint press conference with President Karzai two days ago. The Taliban plan to open an office in Qatar and come out into the open. Ultimately, perhaps the Taliban will join the government and appear in Parliament like the other warlords.
published by Justin Podur on Mon, 03/25/2013 - 17:07
KABUL - US Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a joint press conference in Kabul this evening. There were three main issues discussed.
The first was an agreement for the US Forces to make a phased withdrawal from Wardak province. Announced five days ago, Wardak has been called a test case for the 2014 withdrawal. Karzai has been criticizing US behaviour in the villages, and the agreement over Wardak was presented as a move to respect Afghan sovereignty.
published by Justin Podur on Sat, 03/23/2013 - 16:35
KABUL - It's raining in Kabul so I spent a quiet day indoors, reading and watching television, surfing the 30 some Afghan channels. Yesterday the winner of Afghan Star (basically Afghan Idol), Sajed Jannati, sang a song for New Year's. Another New Year's concert took place today, and the singer was Farzana Naz, who has even given a concert in the southern province of Helmand.
published by Justin Podur on Fri, 03/22/2013 - 13:55
KABUL - An article in Safi Airways magazine, which I read on the flight from Delhi, reports that while 10-12% is a good return on investment in the US, 50% and more is possible in Afghanistan. Waiting for luggage to come around at Kabul airport, looking up at the empty billboards offering advertising space for sale, it's easy to forget that this is a land of opportunity for businesses, contractors, and NGOs. But, although it is not clear that they'll leave very much behind when they leave, it is.