Should politics and travel mix? Having recently read Travel as a Political Act, if traveling to enrich the mind and spirit, it’s inevitable politics will play some role. For me, travel isn’t always about sleeping in lush beds and lounging by pools sipping cocktails (although that’s nice). It’s about experiencing, broadening my horizons, and making connections with people which is part of the reason I traveled to Kabul in March 2006. And traveling to a war-torn country means politics will play a role.
An opportunity with Global Exchange came about to visit Kabul** and reading The Kite Runner inspired me to see firsthand what was happening. A blog was kept at QKG’s Afghanistan during my journey. Sometimes I’m still amazed I made the journey especially with daily reports of intensifying violence and casualties.
Immediately below is a slide show of Afghanistan’s youth and her future. Nearly four years later, I wonder what these young people are doing. Morbidly, I wonder if they are still alive.
To accompany this post, be sure to read this essay titled, Empowering Women is Key to Afghanistan’s Reconstruction, which I wrote for the Tallahassee paper Apalachee Tortoise for the February 2007 issue. A common message I heard during my journey was, “We have been forgotten.” Afghans were thankful the U.S. entered in 2001 however they felt abandoned because most troops were soon deployed to Iraq and the job was not finished. Bringing in more troops should (in theory) finish what the U.S. started.
So yes, I’m happy President Obama is sending more troops into Afghanistan, I just hope it’s not too late.