Tom Ricks didn’t like me noting that Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn are probably the only two independent journalists living in Kandahar. He even called it "bullshit." What follows, however, is just bizarre:

As opposed, I reckon, to the dozens of MSM hacks who line up for frosty Taj beers by 3 pm each day at the bar of the Kandahar Foreign Correspondents Club. Bonus points for the four-barreled name featuring a "van." Didn’t young van Linschoten’s cousin Winston prep at St. Paul’s, and later get involved in a regretful scene at a Princeton boathouse with two Emma Willard girls and a wolverine that had imbibed too much champagne?

In reality, I am told the best bar in Afghanistan outside Kabul remains the Bamboo in Jalalabad. They also can arrange a tour of Tora Bora for you, but the heavy security costs extra.

Ooookay. So the majority of journalists operating in Kandahar province live at KAF and work at the behest of the military there. Sometimes MSM reporters venture into Kandahar City itself—Dexter Filkins notably spent several days there and noted that he didn’t see any Canadian patrols around the city—but they are not based there full time, nor do they speak Dari and Pashto as Alex does. (And what’s with him mocking Alex—who is Dutch—for having a Dutch name?)

If Ricks knows of any other journalists—independent or no—who live in Kandahar City full time (Sarah Chayes does not count, as she no longer works as a journalist), I’d like to hear about them. Otherwise, he could try shutting his fucking mouth and acting like reading Free Range International is a sufficient excuse for wit. (FRI is the blog of Tim Lynch, whose company also runs the Taj, which Ricks links to, by way of saying he "is told" rather than actually seeing for himself.) Or, you know, he could try not being a dick about something so very trivial.

How completely bizarre.

Joshua Foust

Joshua Foust

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