Another Week in Paradise

Kabul, Afghanistan - January 27, 2002 

Last night I was lulled to sleep with the sounds of bombers flying overhead to targets unknown.† It was a sweet siren song that helped me forget about the shock of hearing Marjann was dead.† Marjann, the one-eyed lion that had survived for so long on so little, no doubt succumbed from his delicate equilibrium being disturbed by life saving drugs from the west.† What is to become of the tens of thousands of dollars donated to the poor beast?  

Kabul, Afghanistan - January 30, 2002

 So I got a little sidetracked the other day, new people coming in, old people leaving.† I am now enjoying my new title of Bureau Chief, for I am the only CBS employee currently in Kabul.† I am still recuperating from a lethal mix of scotch, wine, Uzbek vodka, and Cuban cigars from the night before.† Nothing worse than being woken up from a drunken stupor and have to talk to someone in authority, with your voice cracking and not being able to see straight.† I think I pulled it off, only time will tell.  

Kabul, Afghanistan - January 31, 2002 

So I got very sidetracked the other day.† I seem to have better wits about me now.† New fighting has broken out in Afghanistan, about 100 km from here, and maybe itís just me, but I feel a little tension in the air.† Things started to get a bit strange the night of the 29th, thus the heavy medication I subjected myself to.† We had a little visit from the ďformer Green BeretĒ that was featured in a 60 Minutes II piece.† I guess he was a bit put off that he felt he was portrayed in a negative manner in the segment, and that he had been banned from the house because of his habit of carrying an assortment of weapons.† He threatened to have the whole house wiped out and specifically singled out the ABC producer and the CBS cameraman as the source of his woes.† Oh the bittersweet irony of being threatened death by a New Yorker in Afghanistan.† Luckily for me, I was assured by the former CBS producer, who is now safe in London, that this gentleman regards me as someone he can trust, once again proving that no one ever suspects the engineer.† So now, because of this debacle, we now have armed, Afghan mercenaries guarding the place to make sure Diane Sawyer is safe. 

Speaking of Diane Sawyer, a funny little tidbit of knowledge on a piece she did back in 1996 or 1997.† She came to Afghanistan and interviewed women behind the burqa, about the persecution of women, in secret, undisclosed locations.† Unfortunately, it was insisted upon that Diane do her monologues in front of the houses of the women, thus many were persecuted and/or driven out of the country.† Five years later, Diane Sawyer is now coming back to Afghanistan to interview the same women she interviewed before.† For some reason none of the women want anything to do with her.† Now maybe Iím just being bitter because of all the fuss the New York producers are going to, to make Dianeís stay more comfortable, i.e. making her room look like a brothel, but I think I am going to try and lay low for the next five days. 

Still pretty quiet in Kabul, save for the continuous roar of bombers overhead at night, and tanks driving by during the day.† I have mixed emotions when it comes to the prospect of leaving this place, and it only gets worse when I know that my time here is coming to a close.† I still have much to learn here, and it is quite reassuring that when I tell the people I work with, the name of my replacement, they plead that I stay another month. I am tired of writing, the Cuban is hammering at my skull with the scotch, and I am counting B-52ís like sheep.† Next time Iíll cover what happens when you dress like a Talib. 

- Mike Brandenburg