Afghan business thrives on Iran's border
By Mark Sappenfield, Christian Science Monitor
Fri Aug 10
Herat, Afghanistan - When Hajji Zekrullah Ahmadyar drives out of Herat, he witnesses an urban tableau that is in many ways atypical of modern Afghanistan. Mr. Ahmadyar navigates over smooth asphalt as the car passes this city's broad, clean-swept avenues. He soon reaches some 70 factories fed by 24-hour power. When he arrives at his own mineral-water bottling company, he strolls to the new plant he is building. Business is good, he says, so he is expanding his operations. In many places, paved roads, clean sidewalks, constant power, and relative security would be considered modest achievements. But in Afghanistan, they make Herat a model for what the country could someday become. The city is a window on how Afghan entrepreneurism can take hold when given the time and security to flourish - and what role Afghanistan's neighbors can play in helping to create these conditions.
(ME: Herat -- what Kabul will be some day, I hope. My two big regrets are leaving Afghanistan without having visited Herat or Bamiyan -- and no, Graham, I will *not* take that short-term writing contract in Bamiyan now, so QUIT PRESSURING ME)
US sends unruly warlords to Guantanamo
US behind Afghan warlord's rise, fall
At Guantanamo, unruly chieftains join combatants
By Farah Stockman, The Boston Globe Staff
August 12, 2007
GARDEZ, Afghanistan -- When US special forces wanted to defeat the Taliban, they befriended Abdullah Mujahid, the police chief of this mountainous province. They visited his home with a gift of chocolates, and gave money and equipment to his fighters. Mujahid met frequently with US troops, and even arrested and handed over a suspect the US military sent to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But as the threat of the Taliban receded, US forces sought to replace Mujahid -- an illiterate leader who had been accused of corruption -- with a professionally trained police chief. Soon, Mujahid was accused of being responsible for an attack on US forces. He was sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he languishes not far from the man he arrested.
(ME: another huge mis-step that we are sooooooooooo going to pay for...)
WOMEN DEFY TRADITION, RUN SHOPS IN MAZAR TOWN
MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Aug 15 (IPS) - Women have stormed a male bastion in this historic city, capital of the northern province of Balkh, and traditionalists are clicking their tongues in disapproval. For the first time, five women have opened shops in Mazar under an initiative promoted by the provincial Women's Affairs Department. The head of the department, Friba Majid, said a big market exclusively run by women will open here in the coming months. The shops, some located close to the stunning, nearly five-century old Rawze-e-Sharif or Blue Mosque, stock mainly "women's things" -- lingerie, pants, t-shirts, cosmetics -- and some food items. "I bought underclothes and socks," said Zolaikha, 23, who came shopping with her friends. "Women feel comfortable coming and purchasing from us," says Kamila who used to work with a non-governmental organisation before she opened the shop. "Some families are very strict and don't let their women enter shops run by men," she adds.
(ME: Mazar is in the North. I hear that it's *beautiful*. A lot of people come over the border from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to see it)
Still the King - Never a Racist
On August 16, 2007, I wrote on my private blog to family and friends:
30 years ago, I was living at 205 Springwood Drive, Henderson, Kentucky. I had been watching TV in our spacious 70s-style basement (ala "That 70s Show"), and I was walking upstairs. And ABC -- I remember that it was ABC -- announced that Elvis was dead. I stopped on about the fifth step, turned around, sat down, and cried. I was 11.But I'm not reposting the editorial here, because I just know The New York Times will come after me. But believe me, it's so worth your time to find it and read it online.
About 10 years ago, I read Peter Guralnick's definitive Elvis (and Rock and Roll) biography, Last Train to Memphis. I'm not kidding -- it changed my life. Mr. Guralnick recently did an op-ed piece about Elvis. Read it. Learn.
Now playing: Elvis singing "Treat me nice" I always will...
Elvis was NEVER a racist.
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The personal opinions expressed on this page are solely those of Ms. Cravens, unless otherwise noted.