Posts tagged with ‘afghanistan’

Afghanistan Votes

Amazing photos of today’s election in Afghanistan are making their way through Twitter. A great place to start is with @afghansvote, the feed of a crowdsourced, citizen journalism project that’s monitoring the elections and is based out of Kabul.

Images: A man whose finger was severed by the Taliban after a previous election has a different one marked after he votes, via @ToloNews; a group of voters salute “the enemies of #Afghanistan,” via @JavedAzizKhan; women wait to vote outside of Kabul, via @HabibKhanT; and a woman explains to the AFP why she votes, via @dawn_com.  

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections
The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.
Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.
In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections

The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.

Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.

In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

breakingnews:

AP photographer killed, reporter wounded in Afghanistan
AP: Veteran Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan.
Follow more on this story at Breaking News
Photo: Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome. (AP File Photo)

FJP — Via the BBC:

The attack took place in the town of Khost near the border with Pakistan…
…[The two journalists] had been travelling with election workers delivering ballots in the Tanay district of Khost province.
An eyewitness said a police unit commander had opened fire on the journalists as they were waiting for their convoy to move inside a security compound.
The police officer behind the attack was taken into custody after surrendering to other police…
…The BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent, David Loyn, says the election is being protected by the biggest military operation since the fall of the Taliban.
Nearly 200,000 troops have been deployed across the country to prevent attacks.
Rings of security have been set up around each polling centre, with the police at the centre and hundreds of troops on the outside.
Reporting restrictions are in place, limiting what can be broadcast about the candidates.

For what it’s worth, Niedringhaus was a former Nieman Fellow. Some of her work can be seen on her Tumblr. See also her 2007 essay in Nieman Reports on the emotions of photography, and this 2013 photo essay of her work in Afghanistan from the Atlantic.

breakingnews:

AP photographer killed, reporter wounded in Afghanistan

AP: Veteran Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan.

Follow more on this story at Breaking News

Photo: Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome. (AP File Photo)

FJP — Via the BBC:

The attack took place in the town of Khost near the border with Pakistan…

…[The two journalists] had been travelling with election workers delivering ballots in the Tanay district of Khost province.

An eyewitness said a police unit commander had opened fire on the journalists as they were waiting for their convoy to move inside a security compound.

The police officer behind the attack was taken into custody after surrendering to other police…

The BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent, David Loyn, says the election is being protected by the biggest military operation since the fall of the Taliban.

Nearly 200,000 troops have been deployed across the country to prevent attacks.

Rings of security have been set up around each polling centre, with the police at the centre and hundreds of troops on the outside.

Reporting restrictions are in place, limiting what can be broadcast about the candidates.

For what it’s worth, Niedringhaus was a former Nieman Fellow. Some of her work can be seen on her Tumblr. See also her 2007 essay in Nieman Reports on the emotions of photography, and this 2013 photo essay of her work in Afghanistan from the Atlantic.

When I graduated from university, I worked in ministry of women affairs for six months and I was working on criminal cases. One day when I was crossing the Puli Sokhta bridge, I saw addicted people under the bridge. They were laying there, and their situation was unbearable. When I saw this, I thought: the women who are suffering from a problem, at least they know that they are human beings. They are not forgetting their own personalities. But these people, they get this sickness, they forget who they are. So, that made me think to change my field.

Shabnam S., a 25-year-old woman from Afghanistan, in The Therapist.

The piece is part of a series by Jeffrey Stern, a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, called Afghanistan: On Its Own, in which Stern chronicles how vulnerable groups (women, minorities, youth, businesses dependent on foreign presence) are preparing for the withdrawal of foreign troops this year.

Shabnam, for example, writes about how jobs including her own are funded by foreign money:

Nowadays, people are graduating with good grades from universities. They go and search for jobs, but they cannot get them. For my own job, funding is provided by foreign countries. Once 2014 comes, foreign forces will leave and it is concern for all. We are all concerned, scared. But with all these challenges and with all this thinking that comes to our minds, we still try to believe that even after the foreign forces leave Afghanistan, we can stand on our own feet. And that we should still help these people on our own, somehow. But we understand that we are losing our budgets.

And the other concern we have is that, right now, there are organizations working against drug sellers, working against people who are importing, using, producing drugs, but when the foreign forces leave, there will be insecurity. And that insecurity will increase the rate of drug sellers and drug users and drug importers. That’s a big concern, because it is a big problem for us, we will have even more people addicted to the drugs. Now, there are organizations who are taking care of child labor, street children and other children, but in the future there won’t be such a thing. That will make more children drug users.

See the other pieces in the series, published in Foreign Policy, here.

The Women of the Afghanistan War
The Atlantic’s In Focus blog has a moving photo gallery depicting women from various aspects of the nearly 12-year-old war. This includes NATO soldiers along with Afghan artists, soldiers, prisoners and rappers among many others.
Image: Via The Atlantic — “An Afghan widow takes part in a demonstration at a CARE International food distribution center in Kabul, on March 6, 2006. Hundreds of widows staged a protest as they urged CARE to continue food distribution. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)” Select to embiggen. 

The Women of the Afghanistan War

The Atlantic’s In Focus blog has a moving photo gallery depicting women from various aspects of the nearly 12-year-old war. This includes NATO soldiers along with Afghan artists, soldiers, prisoners and rappers among many others.

Image: Via The Atlantic — “An Afghan widow takes part in a demonstration at a CARE International food distribution center in Kabul, on March 6, 2006. Hundreds of widows staged a protest as they urged CARE to continue food distribution. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)” Select to embiggen. 

Packing for a War Zone
War correspondent Kevin Sites is returning to Afghanistan and shares what he’s packing with Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin:

For news gathering, Canon Vixia, Nikon D90, GoPro 2, Macbook Air, HyperDrive, collapsible, fold-flat tripod and assorted cables and other odds and ends (nothing top of the line, just reliable and functional.)
Personal maintenance, filter water bottle, some instant coffee packets and some anti-bacterial wipes, three-sets of quick-dry, insect repellant treated clothing (Robert Young Pelton, author of the World’s Most Dangerous Place says he’s going to take away my man-card for that.)
Kevlar helmet and Type IIIA body armor —required for military embeds but not particularly helpful or recommended when reporting in Afghan communities, unilaterally.

Read through for the rest.
Image: Packing for Afghanistan, by Kevin Sites via Boing Boing. Select to embiggen.

Packing for a War Zone

War correspondent Kevin Sites is returning to Afghanistan and shares what he’s packing with Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin:

For news gathering, Canon Vixia, Nikon D90, GoPro 2, Macbook Air, HyperDrive, collapsible, fold-flat tripod and assorted cables and other odds and ends (nothing top of the line, just reliable and functional.)

Personal maintenance, filter water bottle, some instant coffee packets and some anti-bacterial wipes, three-sets of quick-dry, insect repellant treated clothing (Robert Young Pelton, author of the World’s Most Dangerous Place says he’s going to take away my man-card for that.)

Kevlar helmet and Type IIIA body armor —required for military embeds but not particularly helpful or recommended when reporting in Afghan communities, unilaterally.

Read through for the rest.

Image: Packing for Afghanistan, by Kevin Sites via Boing Boing. Select to embiggen.

Charging any individual with the extremely grave offense of ‘aiding the enemy’ on the basis of nothing beyond the fact that the individual posted leaked information on the web and thereby ‘knowingly gave intelligence information’ to whoever could gain access to it there, does indeed seem to break dangerous new ground.

Laurence Tribe, professor, Harvard Law School, to The Guardian. Bradley Manning trial ‘dangerous’ for civil liberties – experts.

The News: The trial of Bradley Manning begins today. The US soldier leaked hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks in 2009 and 2010, and has plead guilty to ten of the 22 charges brought against him.

The most serious charge though is that Manning knowingly aided the enemy. If found guilty, he faces life in military prison.

Giles Duley Interview
ifilikeityoulikeit:

*Very interesting interview
“Giles Duley has been getting a lot of attention recently as the photographer who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine in Kabul while documenting American troops in Afghanistan. Giles has been reluctant to speak about himself and his accident, but it’s the work that he’s been compiling for ten years that I really wanted to talk to him about.”
Read more

FJP: Definitely read more.

Giles Duley Interview

ifilikeityoulikeit:

*Very interesting interview

Giles Duley has been getting a lot of attention recently as the photographer who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine in Kabul while documenting American troops in Afghanistan. Giles has been reluctant to speak about himself and his accident, but it’s the work that he’s been compiling for ten years that I really wanted to talk to him about.”

Read more

FJP: Definitely read more.

The Mini Drone
Via Wired:

British troops in Afghanistan are flying a drone that’s shrunk down to its essentials: a micro-machine that spies, built for a solitary user.
This is the Black Hornet. Its Norwegian manufacturer, Prox Dynamics, bills it as the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone, with a weight of 16 grams and a length of 4 inches. Propelled by two helicopter blades, the Black Hornet carries little more than a steerable camera that records still and video imagery. (That is: It’s unarmed.) Now British soldiers have brought it to Afghanistan, as it fits in the palms of their hands. It’s supposed to be a drone for an Army of One.
“We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the British Ministry of Defence for a Monday announcement.

Image: British Army Sgt. Scott Weaver launches a Black Hornet drone from a compound in Afghanistan. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence, via Wired.

The Mini Drone

Via Wired:

British troops in Afghanistan are flying a drone that’s shrunk down to its essentials: a micro-machine that spies, built for a solitary user.

This is the Black Hornet. Its Norwegian manufacturer, Prox Dynamics, bills it as the world’s smallest military-grade spy drone, with a weight of 16 grams and a length of 4 inches. Propelled by two helicopter blades, the Black Hornet carries little more than a steerable camera that records still and video imagery. (That is: It’s unarmed.) Now British soldiers have brought it to Afghanistan, as it fits in the palms of their hands. It’s supposed to be a drone for an Army of One.

“We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” Sgt. Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force told the British Ministry of Defence for a Monday announcement.

Image: British Army Sgt. Scott Weaver launches a Black Hornet drone from a compound in Afghanistan. Photo: UK Ministry of Defence, via Wired.

Taliban in Pakistan

FJP: Thanks so much for the submission. Definitely appreciated.

For those with 15-20 minutes, here’s an overview via Vice

In a recent trip to Pakistan to report on the recent spike in the region’s violence and bloodshed, Suroosh Alvi heard over and over the same sentiment from people on the ground: America’s war on terror is falling flat on its face. The military conflict in neighboring Afghanistan, repeatedly cited by locals, sends a constant flood of guns, refugees, militants, and heroin flowing into Pakistan. Heroin is now actually cheaper than hashish in cities like Lahore, and the Kalashnikov culture, the foundation of which was laid 30 years ago when the CIA financed the mujahideen, is all-consuming. According to the Pakistanis he spoke to, it’s all taken a devastating toll on the country and is creating the next generation of militants.

Bonus: Journalism.co.uk has a good article on Vice’s experiments with video. Especially how they go about funding it.

In particular, Dan’l Hewitt, general manager of AdVice, explains how and why Vice thinks less about traditional advertising (pre/post/mid roll) and more about overall brand marketing (but not “branded content”.)

Via Journalism.co.uk:

"The commercial models around the creation of unique, original video content still don’t work. If you think about our ability to be able to go to somewhere like Liberia and film a documentary on child genocide and warlords, if we were able to produce that at a cost of less than $50,000, which is incredibly cheap for a 40-minute, hard-hitting documentary, to realise any kind of return on that we would need to be able to deliver more than three million video streams based on current video ad models.

"Three million video streams is a lot and not only that but you’d have to run ads on every single one of those videos streams, intrusive ads, big 30-second online TV ads effectively in front of this content. That doesn’t work for us and we couldn’t go down that route ourselves."

Vice has found its road to success lies elsewhere. “We work with brands to create legitimate content that talks to their consumers and their audience in the most appropriate way,” Hewitt explained. “We don’t think about branded content, we think about telling stories and making content that relates to brand messages or products.”

Read through if interested in potential business models for online news video. There’s also interesting thoughts about how to pull off long form narratives (think: segments and serials). 

Journalism.co.uk: From fanzine to HBO: How Vice became a video success story.

US Death Toll Passes 2,000 in Afghanistan War
As The New York Times reports, “Nearly nine years passed before American forces reached their first 1,000 dead in the war. The second 1,000 came just 27 months later, a testament to the intensity of fighting prompted by President Obama’s decision to send 33,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2010, a policy known as the surge.”
Image: Aboard a medical helicopter, Cpl. Andrew Smith of the Marines was treated by Sgt. Jaime Adame, top, an Army medic, after being seriously wounded in an attack in Helmand Province on May 15, 2011. Corporal Smith ultimately recovered from his injuries. Via The New York Times.

US Death Toll Passes 2,000 in Afghanistan War

As The New York Times reports, “Nearly nine years passed before American forces reached their first 1,000 dead in the war. The second 1,000 came just 27 months later, a testament to the intensity of fighting prompted by President Obama’s decision to send 33,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2010, a policy known as the surge.”

Image: Aboard a medical helicopter, Cpl. Andrew Smith of the Marines was treated by Sgt. Jaime Adame, top, an Army medic, after being seriously wounded in an attack in Helmand Province on May 15, 2011. Corporal Smith ultimately recovered from his injuries. Via The New York Times.

newyorker:

How does one photograph a story that has not yet occurred? How does one evoke a sense of what might happen, or of what could?

This was the challenge for the Afghan-Swiss photographer Zalmaï: to capture the sense of foreboding that, as Dexter Filkins writes in this week’s issue, permeates Afghanistan as American troops prepare to withdraw. “People forget that almost thirty million people live in Afghanistan,” Zalmaï told me from Kabul. “Yet twenty thousand Taliban can completely destroy these thirty million lives. How Afghanistan will avoid falling into civil war again, I just don’t know.”

Zalmaï’s work is currently on display in Kabul as part of Documenta, an internationally renowned exhibition series that occurs every five years. Click-through for a slideshow of his images: http://nyr.kr/KOkx0j

Reporting Attacks via Twitter

On Thursday night, Taliban militants attacked the Spozhmai Hotel outside of Kabul.

This is a selection Twitter posts from Mustafa Kazemi (@combatjourno) as the attack unfolded.

The standoff between the Taliban and Afghan security forces lasted 12 hours with some reports saying 20 were killed and others pushing the estimate over 40.

It’s worthwhile to read through his posts in their entirety.

Select images to embiggen.

Media Penetration in Afghanistan
Internews, a non-profit that trains local populations to produce news about their communities, created an interactive map for Afghanistan that shows how people get the news in different parts of the country.
As you explore the map, you see that radio rules the information environment for the majority of the country while the Internet barely registers as a news platform.
"The research combined quantitative and qualitative methodologies including 6,648 close-ended interviews in 107 districts, covering all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces," the organization explains. “This effort guarantees that findings reported here are reasonably representative of the overall Afghan population.”
Via MediaShift:

Mapping survey data with provincial data shows a rich story of the real situation on the ground in each province, which can vary drastically. In Herat, a more urban area with high access to electricity, 86 percent of the population has a television. In the more rural Uruzgan province, with more limited electricity, 99 percent of the population owns a radio and 90 percent owns a mobile phone — but there are few televisions and no Internet access at all.
Internews’ role in Afghanistan is to support local media initiatives, and data visualizations like this help target funding and resources to where they can be best utilized while simultaneously raising awareness of what is still lacking in the country. 

Media Penetration in Afghanistan | The Data | Alta Consulting report (PDF) on the survey and its results.
Image: Screenshot of the Internews Media Penetration in Afghanistan interactive map.

Media Penetration in Afghanistan

Internews, a non-profit that trains local populations to produce news about their communities, created an interactive map for Afghanistan that shows how people get the news in different parts of the country.

As you explore the map, you see that radio rules the information environment for the majority of the country while the Internet barely registers as a news platform.

"The research combined quantitative and qualitative methodologies including 6,648 close-ended interviews in 107 districts, covering all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces," the organization explains. “This effort guarantees that findings reported here are reasonably representative of the overall Afghan population.”

Via MediaShift:

Mapping survey data with provincial data shows a rich story of the real situation on the ground in each province, which can vary drastically. In Herat, a more urban area with high access to electricity, 86 percent of the population has a television. In the more rural Uruzgan province, with more limited electricity, 99 percent of the population owns a radio and 90 percent owns a mobile phone — but there are few televisions and no Internet access at all.

Internews’ role in Afghanistan is to support local media initiatives, and data visualizations like this help target funding and resources to where they can be best utilized while simultaneously raising awareness of what is still lacking in the country. 

Media Penetration in Afghanistan | The Data | Alta Consulting report (PDF) on the survey and its results.

Image: Screenshot of the Internews Media Penetration in Afghanistan interactive map.