The Panjshir Valley is an oasis of calm in war-torn Afghanistan. Could a colourful history one day help to make it a tourism hotspot?
"Since the division of our territory in three we have faced terrible episodes of repression"
A visit to the two hospitals in the war-torn Helmand region of Afghanistan exposes the horrors that innocent civilians, so-called collateral damage caught in the crossfire, experience in modern wartime.
Nine years after the first post-Taliban UN talks on Afghanistan were concluded in Bonn, one border province is still left oddly isolated.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Kachkol Ali at his residence in Quetta in June last year. This was just a few weeks after he had witnessed the kidnapping of three of his clients from his office. A few days later, their bodies were found in the middle of the desert. Mr. Ali briefed me on those facts during an interview in full detail, the same way he would do afterwards with anyone who showed any interest in those terrible events.
US Marines and local businessmen are laying down the foundations for reconstruction in one of the Taliban's biggest strongholds in Afghanistan. But Helmand is likely to remain a place where many die and a few get rich.