May 9, 2011

Kandahar and the Distraction War

Kandahar royal wedding

Taliban attack Kandahar

“Forget humans, even the birds have fled the city,” one shopkeeper in Kandahar’s Chowke Madad district said.

–from:  Afghanistan: Kandahar raid exposes security weaknesses (BBC)

Just thought we’d take a brief look at some media practices in light of the brazen Taliban assault on the entire government and security infrastructure in Kandahar. With that city representing the main focus of the much touted “Obama (now year-old) surge,” it’s unfortunate that photos of the urban assault like the one above, attempting to retake the Government Traffic building, are drawing so little attention.

Kandahar Clean Up

On the other hand, the propaganda machine seems alive and well. Here we see a typical photo and caption of the counter-assault. If the verbiage leads us to believe Afghan security forces duked it out side-by-side with this particular NATO unit, the picture offers only U.S. forces doing the clearing out. Of the seven photo slide show at Zimbio, by the way, only one shows Afghan forces, that photo depicting the Afghans standing outside on the street.

Kandahar Wa Times

More impressive is the prognostication abilities of the Washington Times which published this photo of the Taliban’s muscular assault on Kandahar (which did, at least, feature the Afghan police in action … as does the photo leading off this post), paired with a headline hypothesizing how the Taliban might be interested in a peace deal now that bin Ladin was dead.

Yeah, well I would get too close to that wall.

Kandahar royal wedding

In the meantime, I’m not sure why there’s such a need to get bogged down in nasty details at all (this “feel good” Kandahar photo taken by a Navy photographer and distributed via Reuters) when there are so much more illuminating things to see.

(photo 1: Allauddin Khan/Associated Press caption: An Afghan police officer fires at Taliban fighters who attacked the Traffic Department building in Kandahar, south of Kabul, on 4: REUTERS/U.S. Navy Ensign Haraz N. Ghanbari/Handout caption: In this photo provided by ISAF Regional Command (South), service members watch the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton while taking a break at a coffee house on Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan April 29, 2011.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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