Browsing articles by " LouBu"

Border Hopping

Dec 27, 2010   //   by LouBu   //   Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

Jalal­abad sits at the crux between cen­tral and south Asias, tucked into the moun­tains near the Kyber pass– the famous gate­way to the Indian sub­con­ti­nent. The peo­ple here are Pash­tuns, and their tribes strad­dle the polit­i­cal bound­ary between Pak­istan and Afghanistan. I’ve heard ref­er­ence sev­eral times to “Pash­tunistan,” a coun­try that exists in only a cul­tural con­text, encom­pass­ing all the Pash­tun peo­ple from both sides of the boarder. The red line on the map was drawn when British India pushed north into Afghan ter­ri­tory and the Afghan King ceded that land. How­ever, the bor­der has always been fluid– many Pash­tuns grew up par­tially in Pak­istan and travel between Jalal­abad and Peshawar reg­u­larly. Thou­sands of Afghan Pash­tuns moved east­ward dur­ing the Soviet inva­sion or dur­ing the Mujahideen fought civil war that fol­lowed or when the Tal­iban gov­ern­ment seized power.  They still have rel­a­tives there, who speak the same lan­guage and fol­low the same Pash­tun­wali code of ethics and honor. I’ve been told that Pash­tun peo­ple don’t even need a pass­port to cross the boarder over the Kyber pass. Haz­zaras and Tajiks will be has­sled and need proper doc­u­men­ta­tion. Pashto speak­ers who look the part get waved in. Polit­i­cally we are in Afghanistan but cul­tur­ally we’re slip­ping into Pakistan.


The maximum borders of Pashtunistan (shadowed in blue) and the Durand Line border in red.

- from Wikipedia Pash­tunistan

Merry Christmas from Jalalabad

Dec 24, 2010   //   by LouBu   //   photos  //  1 Comment

This is Dave. He’s our tribal elder here at the Taj Guest­house — Malik Dave. He runs the Syn­ergy Strike Force, which Peretz and I are now part of. He’s a US tank gun­ner turned MD PhD turned hippie-humanitarian aid-tech guru. He’s respon­si­ble for the flex­i­ble, organic nature of the projects we work on and gets batches of money to make them hap­pen. Last night at our bar (the only bar in East­ern Afghanistan) he decided to take a hol­i­day photo to share will all our friends back home. Says Dave: Happy Hol­i­days from Jalal­abad, where the Santa Surge took them by surprise!

Panorama of Jalabad Valley

Dec 23, 2010   //   by LouBu   //   photos  //  No Comments


Panorama of the val­ley where we are liv­ing, taken from the top of a Bud­dhist bur­ial mound. You can see the Kabul river in the dis­tance with the caves Osama Bin Laden lived in when he first came to Afghanistan behind it.

Take me for a ride in Kabul

Dec 21, 2010   //   by LouBu   //   videos  //  1 Comment

This is footage I shot out of a taxi win­dow while the boys and I were in stop and go traf­fic on Tai­moni Street, head­ing for Pajh­wok news.