Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pressure Cooker of Death

On a daily basis, we receive reports that warn us about dangerous situations anywhere in Afghanistan. Generally, these reports are things like attacks on fuel tankers, explosions, firefights between the Afghan police and insurgents, demonstrations that may turn ugly... You get the idea. (Disclaimer: Rarely do these dangerous events take place anywhere near me.)

The Crow
Before I arrived, one such email contained a typo. The email was reporting a demonstration taking place in downtown Kabul. The participants were becoming rowdy and moving towards government buildings, and the Afghan National Police (ANP) were doing their best to get the situation under control. But, in attempting to refer to the demonstrators as a "crowd," our security update people had forgotten the 'd'. As a result, my colleagues got a series of high priority emails about "a big crow approaching the presidential palace" and "the ANP is struggling to disperse the crow; in the meantime, the situation should be avoided." The resolution of the situation: "the big crow is now under control."

The Pressure Cooker
This weekend, I received a vague email about a possible improvised exposive device (IED) found in a village square on the other side of the country. The email said, essentially, that nothing could be ascertained, but that the appropriate authorities were working on the problem. A couple of hours or so later, we received the following follow-up information:

Updated Information: It now appears that the device originally thought to be an IED was actually just a pressure cooker bought as a wedding present and left on the street while the owner went looking for a friend. The area is now clear.

The Morals of the Story
  1. The Afghan National Police are competent, and have effectively cleared the village square of a very intimidating pressure cooker.
  2. Never leave your pressure cooker on the street while searching for your friends unless it's an ugly color and you wish it would just get blown up.

1 comment:

cyn said...

the "crow." that's my all-time favourite typo in the world (even better than the "flash"/"flush" sign fiasco in the men's). caw, caw.