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Hugh in Kabul.

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Eddie Mair | 16:55 UK time, Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Last night Hugh reported from Kabul. Here are some of his photos and words to go with it..starting with the "little boy who works as a minibus caller:


Samiullah, aged 10 and a half. He does his homework early in the morning, works as a taxi caller (shouting out the destinations of the minibuses) from 9am to 1pm, and then goes to school until four in the afternoon. He told me he gets 100 Afghanis a day - about $2. A oaf of flat Afghan bread costs 8 Afghanis, an apple costs 10.


Cry the rugged country. Kabul from a hotel in a compound on a hillside near the city.


Running the gauntlet of Kabul's traffic.

An antique dealer on his balcony in Chicken Street. Some of the jewellers say business is good - but only if they set up stalls in military bases and sell to ISAF personnel.

City Centre.

Wazir Akbar Khan suburb.

City centre


Reconstruction! Too little, and much too late, most people tell me.

Surreal billboard overlooking the city

Sunlight through an old Kabul door".


  • 1. At 12:20pm on 18 Aug 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Hugh, your report yesterday was very moving. I was struck by the hostility being shown towards you (compared, let us say, to your reports from Iraq, etc.) and I guess this not only reflects cultural differences but also the sad history of a country that has suffered repeated invasions by different foreign forces.

    Samiullah - What a lovely smile! Such a small boy for his age, but then, with all he is doing and the little he is eating, I guess this is no surprise.

    The fourth poorest nation in the world. And the military action cannot be helping this. I don't think Afghanistan is a problem that has any single solution.

    Keep safe!

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  • 2. At 1:44pm on 18 Aug 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Thank you, Hugh. As ever, your reports paint a vivid picture which your photographs bring alive.

    My thoughts are with you and the people of Afghanistan.

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  • 3. At 1:45pm on 18 Aug 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    And, btw, excellent photos in their own right

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  • 4. At 1:58pm on 18 Aug 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Great photos Hugh. The more you 'humanise' the country, the more you dispel the 'official' narrative, like the ridiculous embedded reports for TV, of soldiers firing at nothing!

    How come Jon Leyne hasn't gone to Afghanistan? No need for his innuendo-laden reporting style and sinister vocabulary I suppose.

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  • 5. At 2:37pm on 18 Aug 2009, Tkrypton wrote:

    Thanks for the photos. The BBC is indeed swamping us with their impartial narrative elsewhere, where a public is encouraged to laud the dying soldiers and toe Obama's line that this is a war of necessity. Poppycock, as you know, this war is one of choice, fought in the name of money, usury and oil, against an enemy that never initially raised its head - all we can say about the twin towers disaster in 2001 is that the buildings fell in a strange way: LEST WE FORGET. Afghanistan - a country under the imperialist kosh.

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  • 6. At 3:48pm on 18 Aug 2009, U14056677 wrote:

    It sounds as if the election is a farce with Karzai and the war criminal war lords in his government buying votes and polling cards.

    The Taliban isn't allowed to stand.

    The rural population is being terrified by Nato and British attacks on compounds in populous villages they claim the Taliban are hiding in.

    Suddenly Nato stop firing and tell the population to go and vote.

    How would you vote?

    How best to avoid the Nato raid at night at your home or the bombing of a family wedding tent?
    'Show me the Karzai symbol, British Tommy-with-a-gun. I'll put my cross there. That's what you want, isn't, man in a tank, woman in a helicopter gunship, hidden face with a sniper rifle?
    That's what you want, despiser of our religion and customs, invader of our country.
    That is what you call democracy, isn't it?'

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  • 7. At 5:13pm on 18 Aug 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    6. U14056677. ;-) good points.

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  • 8. At 5:19pm on 18 Aug 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    Professor Blanchflower did a wonderfully blinkered economist impression; not once was the environment mentioned, or considered, all that was necessary was for everyone to go shopping and [eventually, could take a while] everything would be allright in the nursery again and we can all relax, suck thumbs and pretend nothing bad like depressions or climate change will ever scare us again - suck suck - there there.

    I despair if a professor, of whatever, can be guilty of such unidirectional thinking. But I expect he's led a very sheltered life wit little exposure to anything except finance.

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  • 9. At 5:26pm on 18 Aug 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    What is this oleaginous cross nonsense? Could have come from the third reich archives. What century are we in? Wear it with pride? What, for dying in a shoddy little war that despite overwhelming firepower superiority will be lost in however many years it takes for it to be realised by all that it can't be won?

    How many more have to die pointlessly and be rewarded with a tacky gong in exchange for a son's life just because to stop would make all the deaths pointless? So more young li9ves are wasted by politicians and aged generals who can't, won't admit they were wrong, and say sorry.

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  • 10. At 5:40pm on 18 Aug 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Eddie (Hugh)

    Hugh: Thanks for the excellent pictures and, I hope that you and the staff at BBC are taking all of the precautions in Kabul.

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 11. At 6:20pm on 18 Aug 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    What a terrible waste of life is being prolonged by this war - so many women and children dying because of ignorance, lack of medical care and malnutrition. Thank you, Hugh, as always you put the human face to the places you report from. Keep safe.

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  • 12. At 6:21pm on 18 Aug 2009, Huntersdale wrote:

    Have just been called for evening meal. I have to go but wil be back another time. Huntersdale

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  • 13. At 6:47pm on 18 Aug 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Big Sister - I second that. A great programme but Hugh Sykes's report was outstanding. Maybe we should be sending midwives out there instead of more soldiers. Who knows ?

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