Sunday, August 16, 2009


I am guessing most of you have already seen and/or read the news from Saturday about the SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Born IED) that exploded here in Kabul, killing 7 and wounding 91. When it exploded, I was at the hospital. News travels fast. Most of the nurses in the OT received calls on their cell phones letting them know what happened. Where the explosion occurred is only a long stone's throw from here (NKC). We have driven through the gates where the explosion was. In fact, 4 members of our team were supposed to convoy a little later in the morning. Fortunately, they were not on the road when it happened.

The Afghans at NMH had an awesome response. They were prepared to receive causalities within minutes of the explosion. They did receive some, and effectively triaged and treated them. The hospital has had too much experience in causality treatment. They have know nothing but war for the last 30 years. I would like to think that they won't have to receive anymore mass causalities in the near future but...the election is on Thursday and the Taliban continue to make threats against the elections.

Not much new to report over the previous week. I did get out on Friday to convoy over to Camp Phoenix. We took the humvees over there for maintenance. We were gone for several hours. It is good to get out eventhough I do go up to the hospital almost everyday.

I don't have any new pictures to post either. I am still waiting to get some of the pictures from several other members of my team. Once I do get the pictures, I will post some. However, I do have some more interesting facts about Afghanistan, more reasons as to why we do what we do:

The Ministry of Finance asserts that in the post Taliban Afghanistan, per capita income has increased from USD 70 in 2001 to USD 300 in 2008. However, Afghanistan is still ranked as the fourth poorest and most deprived country in the world, and the poorest country in the entire Asia-Pacific region, according to the Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007. Decades of conflict combined with a number of serious earthquakes, consecutive droughts and other natural disasters have had dramatic impacts on the Afghan population. Those affected are the poorest demographic, equally split between the countryside and urban areas.

Since the fall of the Taliban and the end of major combat, economic growth has been rapid. There has been a strong recovery, although from a very low level of activity, accompanied by an improvement in some social indicators. In the past eight years, millions of Afghan refugees have returned to their home country and school enrolment has continuously increased, particularly among girls. Significant progresses have also been achieved in the health sector, evidenced by the massive success of consecutive vaccination campaigns. However, despite the economic recovery, Afghanistan still ranks very poorly on all social indicators. According to the latest report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), about ten million people suffer from severe poverty with a large number earning less than 1 USD a day. Human poverty in Afghanistan is a multidimensional problem that includes inequalities in access to productive resources and social services; poor health, education and nutritional status; weak social protection systems; vulnerability to disasters; human displacement and gender inequality.

While there is no exact statistic about the rate of unemployment in Afghanistan, it is believed that some 40% of the country’s estimated 30 million people are jobless. This high rate of unemployment has driven thousands of Afghans to neighbouring Pakistan and Iran in search of jobs. Unfortunately, this situation increasingly benefits the Taliban, who commonly seek recruits among the jobless with offers of money.

According to the World Bank, in 2009 only 13% of Afghans have access to safe drinking water, 12% to adequate sanitation and just 6% to electricity. In rural Afghanistan, which supports the agriculture sector, the main industry in Afghanistan, the lack of technical and infrastructure capacity, including clean affordable energy, maintains a high level of socio-economic insecurity. Despite large agricultural potential, the country is missing rural entrepreneurship, market linkages, access to financing and technology and a strong private sector to create job opportunities.

Kind of sobering, isn't it....


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/17/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. Hi Dan - used to drive by the compound when under construction in 2006 and 2997, and wondered what was going on in there. Talked with an American retired CSTC-A general who helped get it open, and even he couldn't learn what it was going to be used for... but in Kabul secure space is valuable. I'll be checking in with you regularly.