My apologies in advance for the heaviness of the today’s topic. I figure that underneath it all, folks are thinking of security issues when they imagine me in Afghanistan. Might as well bring it out in the open.
Today I had a shocking reminder of the dangers that exist no matter where you are in the world. I learned of the death of a colleague from another USAID contractor who has worked with me closely as the approving body of participant training. He dropped dead of a heart attack this weekend. After a year and a half in Iraq and six months in Afghanistan he went the same way he likely would have back home. One could say that living in such environments could have contributed to additional stress, but from my perspective there’s a great deal more stress to be had within the beltway.
Worrying about my health is likely not the first concern of friends and family while I’m living in Kabul. After being here a month I’d have to say that the security situation seems pretty stable in Kabul. Generally I leave the residence and office about three times a week for a couple of meals or meetings. When I do so it is with a driver and guard, and likely with other internationals or Afghans. While kidnappings and the like are more common than I would like in Kabul, they tend to focus on folks who are unaccompanied and wandering around on their own. I haven’t heard of any attempts with a guard at their side, the easy targets are simply easier.
Overall I feel pretty secure for the circumstances. Ninety percent of the time I’m at my office or room, so I figure that is the number one way to cut back on the risk. The treadmill remains useful in cutting down on other risks.