Afghanistan Diary
Saturday, May 14, 2005

There were some violent clashes between demonstrators and the police yesterday. More than ten people died as a result. The police does not have much training in peacefully containing the crowds, neither do they care much about human life it seems, so they spray bullets to disperse the demonstration (which is certainly effective, but). I get most of my news from BBC world service on the radio and they did not specify where this took place. I think it was somewhere up North, but I don’t know. I heard what appeared to be a demonstration in the morning yesterday (I did not think it was wise to go an look) but it sounded peaceful. There are rumors that some national protests are to take place today in Kabul, so we’ll see. I read an article in the paper describing the riots in Jalalabad. They mentionned that people were, I quote, "hunting for foreigners." That does not sound too good, does it.

I don’t know about my plans to travel to Uzbekistan, there is quite some turmoil (totally unrelated) over there as well (up to three hundred deaths) so we'll have to see how that evolves.

We had some people over last night, it was nice. The weather is also warming up nicely and we have roses all over the garden.

Work wise, I am still working on georeferencing my vector map of Kabul. In theory, one can georeference a map with two or three points of reference, but if I do so, the results are really not accurate enough. Keep in mind that a difference of a few pixels can equate to hundreds of meters on the ground. Therefore, I am devising a system using a larger number of points of reference (about 30). Then I will estimate the coordinate of each point, only instead of using a generic formula for the whole map, I will assess the point’s location based on its distance to the closest known points of reference. This will distort the map somewhat but it should make for a more reliable map.

Erratum: I had previously mentioned that the whole map of Kabul was composed of about 700 route segment. I don’t know how I got to that figure. The actual number is closer to 9000 (it will be interesting to see how that affects performance).

We are under locked down today, that is to say that we have been asked to stay at home. It has been since Thursday night that we are asked to stay in the house. Apparently, ANSO (the main organization that issues security guidelines here) would have issued a warning to internationals to be ready for evacuation. I know that this is the worse case scenario (and a pretty unlikely one) but still…

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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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