Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some Country Views

Well, it's not my town, but I'm here for the next year or so. I got out of Kabul and into the countryside the other day. Everything here was taken on Saturday, 19 July. This is a land of contrasts both in her people and the landscape. The Kabul Valley is Afghanistan's breadbasket. Prior to the Soviet invasion Afghanistan was self-sufficient in food largely due to the excellent soil and abundant water in the Kabul Valley. And yet even in Kabul Province, you see wildly contrasting topography.

This is probably typical of how most people envision Afghanistan.
And there is much like this.
This in the northernwestern part of Kabul Province.
The mountains jut out of the level plain and form a bowl around the valley.

Looking back the other direction from the previous picture you see the mountains to the southeast. The agricultural basin in the valley below and nestled on the southern slopes provide a sharp contrast to the arid plain above.

More of the rugged mountains ringing the Kabul Valley.

Desert road through barren landscape.

This picture shows two things, the bed for the new road taking shape and a sense of scale.
You can see for miles and the distances can be deceptive.

A woman tends the family flock.

Villagers getting organized for the day's work. They were repairing the mud walls on this day and improving the irrigation ditches. Note the trees in the background. We are no longer in the desert.

A martyr's grave near the village.
Martyr's graves are distinguished with green or red flags.
This is a martyr who died during the Soviet occupation.

Fields of green. Note the fortress-like buildings in the background. Some villages in these remote areas are completely walled. It has always been dangerous living in the remote areas of Afghanistan.

Another farm. Poplar trees like these lining the field are very common.


Travis Erwin said...

Nice insight as always and I added yo tot he My Town brigade again this week.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hello- Obama said today if elected he will greatly increase the number of forces there. It seems like the way we should have gone five years ago.

Charles Gramlich said...

Did you ever read the Robert E. Howard stories set in Afghanistan, the El Borak and Kirby O'Donnell stories? I'm wondering if they seem at all accurate to the topography.

Barbara Martin said...

It's interesting to see the contrast in the land depending on the direction one looks.

J. L. Krueger said...


Thanks and welcome back to blogomania!


Actually five years ago more directed economic assistance would have been more effective. Five years ago the security situation was not as bad as today. It should be noted that many of the insurgents in play right now are Iraq veterans...particularly the suicide types. Even the Taliban has complained about their tactics.


I have not, but I'm collecting such works now that I'm here. Probably the only topography that would not make sense is lush tropical jungle...they seem to have almost every other type.


Yes, it changes very fast. Just to the northeast of Kubul (about 50 kilometers) you will find the mountain slopes heavily forested.

preTzel said...

JL - Again, great shots. I love to be able to "travel" with you through your words and your photography.

Btw, you have something over on my blog you need to pick up, so stop by and grab it. :D

Barrie said...

Fascinating! So glad you're joining in!

J. L. Krueger said...


Thank you! And I hope I don't run out of interesting sights. I still have hundreds of pictures to choose from and everyday I see something new and different.


Thanks for stopping by. I've decided to dedicate the next year or so on this blog (may be longer) to Afghanistan. Heck, I'm here, I might as well. ;)

Clare2e said...

Thanks for the armchair view of something I wouldn't get to see otherwise. It's the everyday environment that teaches me more about a place, I think.

girl with the mask said...

Martyrs grave pic particularly interesting. How long is your stay for?

SUV MAMA said...

Awesome pictures. Count me in as "keep me posted!".

Linda McLaughlin said...

Great photos. Some of the photos are reminiscent of the Calif. desert, topographically speaking.

I agree with you completely that more economic assistance five years ago would have made a huge difference.


debra said...

The hugeness of the landscape is astounding. Here in NE Ohio we lose sight of the sense of scale you depict---and our small place in the scheme of things.

J. L. Krueger said...


Thanks for stopping by. I never thought I'd get here. I kept winding up at the other war. I finally got someplace my father never visited.


I'll be here until at least late summer 2009. I do get a two-week break in January when I'll meet the wife in Scotland. I have a great shot of over 100 martyr's graves at one village, but I'm researching the story (in my copious spare time) before I post that one.


Thanks and will definitely be keeping all posted. I take at least 50 pictures per day, so among all those there are bound to some good ones.

Linda Mclaughlin,

Yes, some of the desert scenes reminded me of the area around Barstow and Fort Irwin. Had the economic support been forthcoming earlier, it would have mitigated the reasons some people side with the Taliban against the government.


When you are in the middle of that desert with those mountains all around, it really does make one feel small. Looking down from those mountains with unimpeded views for miles is also pretty inspiring.

Ello said...

it's so weird to see so much dry arid land and then see green. Wonderful pictures of village life.