Afghanistan Diary
Thursday, June 16, 2005

Not much to report lately. We are still under curfew, so our movements are limited. A week ago, Clementina (the abducted Italian aid worker) was released. There are conflicting stories about her release, but it appear that what the police did is to keep the mother of the kidnapper (aidworkernapper I should say) in jail until Clementina was free. All along, they had known who did it. Although there has been some Islamic demands made such as that of a ban on the sale of alcohol and a stricter crackdown on opium cultivation (how do you measure that?), it had been said that the she was abducted by a criminal gang who intended to exchange her for one of their members who is currently in jail.

The security situation is not improving however. Among the long list of incident in the country, there was an abduction attempt (or something that looks like it) in Kabul. We have had two security meetings this week. The first was to discuss security measures and the evacuation plan. I had to register with the Belgian embassy, which I hadn’t done. The second was a meeting on security and stress to discuss how we cope with the current situation. Prior to the meeting, I would have said that my level of stress was very low (too low really, I cannot get stressed enough). However, according to some test given to us, I have all the signs of somebody on the verge of a major burnout.

I heard back from my attorney, but the answer was not what I was hoping for. What is especially irritating is that it is not a yes or no answer, as I expected. I am still debating the matter, but I am currently leaning toward going back to the States. Even if I stay, I will need to pay a visit to the States for immigration purposes. My boss, who is concerned that some of my projects are taking too long, said that she might help me with the cost of the plane ticket if I managed to finish some them beforehand. “Think of it as a carrot,” she said. The thing is: I don’t like to think of myself as a donkey.

This week-end, we have some outing planned with Hafiz, the driver with whom we went to Mazar. Also there is a circus in town that we really would like to see. We went there last week-end, but the show was cancelled due to bad weather. The circus has no animal, it has a frighteningly old equipment for trapezists. The tent, or what is left of it, appears to be made out of rags. To say that the circus is shabby does not capture, the advance stage of decay it is in. It would not be out of place in a post-apocalyptic movie. I will post pictures soon.

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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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