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May 24th 2010
Published: May 24th 2010
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The CompoundThe CompoundThe Compound

View of the high security wall, sniper screens and razor wire.
It is HOT in Kandahar at this time of year.... VERY HOT! The journey from Kabul was not the most pleasant of my life - delayed flight, old ex-Turkish Airlines 737 and a mad scramble for the bags - Kandahar Airport (aka KAF) has not yet invested in a carousel system. Then into the body armour for a dash to our secure company compound in the centre of the city.

Secure is, of course, a relative term since KAF is regularly rocketed and our compound is right where NATO-ISAF forces have yet to "clear' the Taliban. We are the only NGO remaining in the city which is the heartland of the Taliban (aka "Afghan Opposition Groups" - why does officialdom always try and dumb things down?).

The compound is like a fortress or a maximum security prison, with high walls, separate walled and defended sections and lots of razor wire together with the ubiquitous sniper nets one sees all over (these are green nets that simply obscure the bad guy's view).

All said, it could be worse. There is a small rose garden where the flowers perfume the night and we have individual bedrooms with cable TV and
The Rose GardenThe Rose GardenThe Rose Garden

The only part of the compound that is at all pleasant.
en suite bathrooms. You walk from the living accommodation to the office which is in the so-called 'Wedding Palace" something that looks like a Christmas cake and was indeed where weddings were held. It now houses a huge number of locals as well as us foreigners.

So: surrounded by definitely unfriendly Afghans and a thin screen of security guards we work during the day and spend the nights listening for the bangs.


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