First, I had a great Diwali, I lost copious amounts of money yesterday after winning a kilogram of tenners on Monday night. But, big deal I had a great time looking at all the fancy fireworks that the people of South Delhi sent up to the moonless skiy. The fireworks might have been imported from China (much to the chargin of the Sivakasi factories) but by god, they were of a higher quality than anything that I've ever seen before and they were quieter and I believe less pollluting as well (as they conform to EU pollution rules, or so some of them claimed).
Anyway, before I lost the money I went to meet Doctor D who came back from his tour of duty (on a film set) to Kabul. Two weeks of Afghanistan and the man looks dazed. Maybe because it was the large amounts of cheap Afghan hash that he smoked (very high quality - for 200 Afghani a tola the stuff is a steal). But also was amazed at the extreme contrast in that land - on one side there are tens of Toyota Landcruisers (which the standard mode of transport over there) on the other there is extreme poverty. And there are Bollywood stars everywhere. The Doctor was working on a film which starred John Ambraham (The Kabuliwala's liked calling him John Imbrahim) and had tales of how the man was mobbed by large numbers of AK-47 toting men at everywhere he went.
But for a land that has endured war for 30 years non-stop, he said that it is a country of amazing natural beauty. I'll get him to scan some of his pictures (The Doc is a die-hard film fan) and post them. Yet, so many cities have seen battles for them for years - I believe Mazar-e-Sharif itself has been fought for 22 times in the last 10 years. Going back a few centuries it is amazing that a dusty mountainous land has been fought for so many times.
What I am scared of is that while Afghanistan is bad, the seed for centuries of warfare has been laid in Africa, and that is going to be far worse than what we saw in Afghanistan.