Josh Foust tips me off to Afghan Lord, the English-language blog of Nasim Fekrat, a 26-year old Afghan blogger who’s currently writing from Helmand province, where he’s teaching people how to blog. (!) It looks like he’s working with the Provincial Reconstruction Team out there. I particularly like this post from June about the joys of motorbiking:
I am excited and impatient as well. I bought a Kawasaki motorbike 250cc offroad just a few days ago. With this I am going to travel to Bamyan and in central Afghanistan. It is a Japanese used dirt bike which currently is in a good condition. I am going to do a tour, passing through several districts and province to reach my village. My mother is sick and i promised to see her weeks ago. This time I am doing a quick tour with this motorbike and I hope to do it again but with a friend of mine who is still trying to make his mind.
I saw a lot of dirt bikes in Afghanistan. They’re convenient ways of getting around in a country with practically no roads.
Meanwhile, 50Bravo, one of the COIN Jedis at Small Wars Journal has some critiques of a recent Marine-vs-Taliban Helmand firefight:
don’t expect locals to support you if you can’t protect them with either local militia or troops. if they don’t want that protection then they are Ban symps and need to be relocated or dealt with otherwise.
Uh, relocation? Is that a road we really want to go down? If the population is sympathetic to the Taliban, then that’s a problem the Afghan government has to solve. Relocation seems like an approach more likely to turn the population actively against both us and the Afghan government rather than one capable of cleaving their allegiance away from the Taliban. 50Bravo recognizes that "just because they aren’t for the govt doesn’t mean they are against you." He’s right. So why force the population into siding against us?