Saturday, August 15, 2009

Morning Tea

Despite getting approximately four hours of sleep a night, I try to get up early enough to have a quick breakfast and some tea in the garden before I go to work. Usually it's the best part of the day, except for the anticipation of the crises, annoyances and petty distractions that confront me when I get to the office.

It's also a chance to get a little reading done. Currently the book of choice is Hedley Bull's The Anarchical Society. Yes, I know, I'm an IR geek, but the title seemed appropriate given the surroundings. Besides, it is one of the seminal works of international relations from the 20th century (or any century, for that matter).

So, I'm sitting in the shade trying to absorb the distinction between a "system of states" and "the international system" when I hear the Whump! of a large bomb going off. My first thought was a hand grenade in the street outside, but the sound was much larger and more distant than that. In true Afghan fashion, the scattering of people having breakfast around me look up, smile nervously at each other and then go back to eating. Takes a lot to get people to react in this town.

This is why one doesn't make appointments in the morning in Kabul. Give the bad guys a few hours to get it out of their system before you venture into the high-threat areas. Probably a lot more of this sort of thing to come in the days leading up to the election. Fortunately, I live in the quiet part of town, far away from the embassies, military bases and government buildings. So I get to enjoy my morning tea in (relative) peace.

Update: Nine hours after the fact, I get this in my email from the U.S. Embassy-Kabul:

Warden Message
U.S. Embassy Kabul
August 15, 2009
At approximately 0835 this morning, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) detonated near the ISAF headquarters vehicle entrance not far from the U.S. Embassy. Reports indicate as many as seven people were killed and 91 injured. This attack illustrates the significant threat that American citizens face throughout Afghanistan. American citizens are advised to be alert to the continued possibility of terrorist attacks. There is a continuing threat from terrorism throughout Afghanistan and the upcoming elections provide terrorist groups an opportunity or pretext to stage an attack. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

Well, duh! Thanks for the timely tip guys. Got anything I can't get off the BBC?

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