One of my 2013 goals was to film my first international story and I’m excited to announce that dream is coming true…although going to Afghanistan wasn’t exactly what I had in mind (I really wanted to go to Africa and do a story on infectious diseases and monkeys) I’m thrilled to experience this opportunity.
How do you pack for a trip to a conflict zone? I just unpacked my bags from Australia and less than 60 hours later I’m on the bedroom floor arranging clothes for this 10-day work trip to the Middle East.
If you’re wondering, “How do you fly to Kabul?” my response is, “on an airplane via Dubai.” Hopefully I’ll have the chance to grab my suitcase and find a knee-length wrap sweater to cover my bum before boarding the flight to Kabul. In preparing for this trip, I’ve had to be conscious of covering my “assets” – if you catch my drift. Being a devout Muslim and conservative country, Afghanis grow rather concerned if women are baring too much of their backside. I purchased a few loose-fitting tunic style shirts and relaxed fitting pants to throw in my suitcase to cover my rear.
This will be a very sobering trip. The first half of our time in Kabul will be spent visiting a women’s shelter to interview women about the plight of civil rights in Afghanistan. We’re mainly focusing on an American female lawyer who litigates in Afghan courts on behalf of women who’ve been sentenced for moral crimes. For example, if a woman has been raped or ran away from home for any reason, she can be sent to jail. Many of the women in the shelter are there seeking sanctuary and our lawyer helps them in any way she can – whether it be to argue for a shortened sentence, or broker medical procedures on behalf of her clients. It’s a very powerful story and I’ll keep you posted on its development.
The other story we’ll be working on during the last half of the trip will involve spending time with the military and examining how the ISAF – International Security Assistance Forces – will begin the retrograde operations to vacate the country by 2014. Our crew and Mr. Rather will be traveling to a few different bases across the county and speaking to troops about the pullout. I can’t imagine how one starts a war…and it’s easily as daunting to fathom how one wraps up overseas operations.
I’ll try to post pictures and updates as I travel, so check back to see what’s new.