Diary from Kabul - PTSD and Perms

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 27.07.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

I think I may have been living in a war zone for too long, and it is taking its toll. Before Christmas I was talking with a friend who had been working in regions of conflict exclusively for 10 years and he described that there are something like 59 symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he exhibited 43 of them.

Nato Air Strike 'Kills Family Of Eight' In Afghanistan

Huffington Post UK | Felicity Morse | Posted 27.05.2012 | UK

Eight civilians, including a woman and six children, have been killed by an Nato airstrike in the Paktia province of Afghanistan, local officials have...

Diary from Kabul - One in the Chamber!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 11.07.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

My name is Martin Middlebrook. The 12 of you who read this regularly know this of course, but by other countries other conventions apply. So depending upon relative status or affection, my moniker here is either Kaakaa Martin, Mr Martin, or Martin Jan.

This Sceptred Isle

Graham Sheffield | Posted 11.07.2012 | UK Entertainment
Graham Sheffield

There is nothing 'soft' about the UK's arts and creative industries, two of our biggest economic assets. Neither is there anything soft about our continuing work through the recent unrest in the Arab world and the British Council remaining on the ground during the last decade in Burma, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A War That Only Women Can Win

Tehmina Kazi | Posted 09.07.2012 | UK
Tehmina Kazi

As NATO troops prepare to withdraw, we must recognise that the real work in Afghanistan and Pakistan has just begun.

Loving the Challenge

Deborah Smith | Posted 29.06.2012 | UK
Deborah Smith

Strangely enough I felt on a real high from the moment I landed on the tarmac. I thoroughly enjoyed being in Afghanistan. I loved the heady difference, the gripping change of scenery, the break from five years of deep emotional wrangling within the wider family dynamic, the food, the work, the appreciation of your efforts from Afghan colleagues.

Diary from Kabul - The Commoditisation of Women

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 27.06.2012 | UK Lifestyle
Martin Middlebrook

My westernised nephew said this to his father recently. "Men rule the world dad, but women control men, so really women rule the world". Very smart and intuitive, and quite possibly true in some households. But in Afghanistan women are the missing and beaten half of humanity.

Diary From Kabul - The Secret War

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 20.06.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

Since my brush with death at the Ashura bombing in Kabul, and my crack on the head, I have developed a disturbing ability. In the same way that bats can locate moths by echolocation, I have discovered that I can locate furniture with my shins. We never stop learning it seems. It started in Dubai when I jammed my foot into a table and sliced my toe open.

Pulitzer Prize 2012: Winner Massoud Hossaini's Image Of Weeping Girl After Suicide Bomb In Kabul

Huffington Post UK | Sara C Nelson | Posted 18.06.2012 | Home

AFP photographer Massoud Hossaini has been awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his heartbreaking image of a girl crying in fear after a suicide bomber...

Hague Condemns Kabul Attacks

PA/Huffington Post UK | Posted 15.06.2012 | UK

William Hague has condemned Taliban attacks on diplomatic targets in Afghanistan's capital city Kabul including the British embassy. After multiple...

Diary from Kabul - Bloody Sunday

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 15.06.2012 | UK
Martin Middlebrook

This week I have spent time in Mazar e Sharif in the north of Afghanistan, and as we drove back yesterday I said to my translator, "something big will hit Kabul soon, it's been too quiet for too long, the city is too calm:. He replied "do you think so boss?" "Of course" I said.

British Embassy In Kabul Targeted As Part Of Taliban Offensive

The Huffington Post UK | Chris Wimpress and Paul Vale | Posted 15.06.2012 | Home

A series of explosions and gunfire rocked the Afghan capital on Sunday as the Taliban launched a coordinated attack on Western embassies, the Afghan p...

Diary From Kabul - Beirut and Back!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 13.06.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

On my final night in Beirut, we went out to dinner at a restaurant that specialises in Chocolate dishes. If your sole intake of chocolate for three months has been Ferrero Rocher, then you are to endorphins what insomnia is to sleep - utterly deprived.

Diary from Kabul - A Message for Mr Cameron

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 09.06.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

War pays I can tell you. Kabul is a building site and the construction industry is booming off the back of reconstruction. Now Mr David Cameron of the swept back hair and boyish looks, you're a clever man, just this week you flew over Afghanistan, did you perchance bother to look out of the window? If you had you would have seen how capitalism really works.

First Impressions of Kabul

Deborah Smith | Posted 05.06.2012 | UK
Deborah Smith

After all the build up, uncertainty, and fear, I finally arrive at my destination. I'm so relieved to be travelling with Matt, Teresa and Jakob. They ...

Diary from Kabul - Off to Lebanon

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 30.05.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

So those of you who know and care, which excluding my mum is no telephone directory, will be aware that last week was to 'close' what Gillette are to shaving - a whisker away!

Diary From Kabul - Cheating Death in a Suicide Blast

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 23.05.2012 | UK
Martin Middlebrook

Going back is always the most dangerous thing you can do because terrorists frequently plant secondary devices, and the crowd so often turn on any westerners who are there. Photojournalists always reside in this complex middle ground between respect and getting the story. Without them we would not know the truth of conflict, and yet there can be a prurient side to our endeavors - what to do, the world should see the truth. We weigh these things up, and make our decisions, and this time it was a mistake, it could have been a terminal one.

'Major Offensive' By UK Troops In Afghanistan Underway

PA | Posted 17.05.2012 | UK

A major offensive on Taliban strongholds has been launched by Afghan security forces, supported by British troops. Among those overseeing the Afgha...

Diary From Kabul - Things are Different Here!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 16.05.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

In Afghanistan you get power cuts every day, lots of them. There are times I admit that I do get a little frustrated with the internet going on the blink, particularly when you are in the middle of email sex with someone who is four time zones removed.

Why There's Little Point Hoping the Taliban Will Ever Consider Women's Rights

Piers Secunda | Posted 11.05.2012 | UK Politics
Piers Secunda

The New York Times has suggested that the Taliban might be willing to consider human rights and women's rights in negotiations for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. After my visit to Totia High School, I find that suggestion nearly impossible to believe...

Diary from Kabul - Looking for Suicide Bombers!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 09.05.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

Everyone here plays a game of I spy when they are out and about. The idea is that you are trying to work out which of the 200,000 Toyota Corollas in front of you is loaded with fertilizer and ball bearings. It's not quite like the version of the game you played with your parents when stuck on the M6 trying to holiday in the lakes.

Diary from Kabul - Mosquitos and Bacon!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 02.05.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

In Afghanistan, officially of course, you can't get pork, as officially you can't get a drink, *hiccup* but of course it is available. But here is the rub, you find yourself eating bacon that could have been stripped from a rat, a small, infected rabid rat at that. It bears no resemblance to any bacon I have ever eaten.

Diary From Kabul - Children of War

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 25.04.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

Next to my tent in Camp Bastion is the Vigil Ceremony Parade Ground, where those killed in action are remembered. Inscribed on the monument are the names of all the soldiers that have given their lives in Helmand. Carved into stone are these words: "When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today."

Defining Anxiety

Deborah Smith | Posted 22.03.2012 | UK
Deborah Smith

A week before I'm due to leave Australia, there's a bomb blast at the Safi Landmark hotel in Kabul, a hotel frequented by internationals Am I anxious...

Diary from Kabul - To Helmand and Back!

Martin Middlebrook | Posted 18.04.2012 | Home
Martin Middlebrook

We patrolled for six hours, a wearing journey I can assure you, and whilst never blasé, you can also become a little un-attentive after a while. 50 yards behind me a soldier lost his legs a couple of weeks back, 600 yards to my left is a sniper, to the front is a compound with insurgents, we can see them watching us, and the same to our right, a compound chock full of people who rightly or wrongly wish us ill.