Michael's Dispatches

Afghanistan Elections Spot Report


20 August 2009

This dispatch has been dictated by satellite phone due to communications difficulties.  My satellite gear has failed on election day.  I do not know how well the elections turned out in other parts of Afghanistan.  Here in North Helmand Province, near Sangin, I am told that less than 300 people voted.  In this area the day was marked by serious fighting.  Apache attack helicopters were firing their cannons throughout the day.  The howitzers fired many times.  The mortars were firing.  Various bases were attacked.  On the mission I accompanied the snipers were firing.  We got into a firefight, and the soldier beside me had his antenna shot off.  I would not characterize this as a failure of the elections, it was a local setback.  We saw the same in Iraq in early 2005, where some people boycotted the elections.  The situation here is not good, but this is only one area of Afghanistan.  I do not know what happened elsewhere.



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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    For some current updates and a link to AliveAfghanistan (didn't work for me but my setup is old) go to http://blog.freerangeinternational.com/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Future Voice · 12 years ago
    Michael has always said good words about our work to educate young journalists in Iraq, now we are in Afghanistan. Keep up the reports M, maybe we can meet at the gandamack lodge in the future. This is what was happening in other parts of Helmand and Kabul.
    www.demotix.com (Future Voice Afghanistan)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pete Tavares, Jr. · 12 years ago
    Thanks for the update. You are in my thoughs & prayers everyday. I tell everyone I can about your reporting. Good Lord willing a check will be in the mail to you very soon. Stay safe, as I tell me kids before they deploy & whenever they call while deployed: Keep your eyes & ears open, ur mouth shut & don't vlounteer for a damn thing!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rose Burkhart · 12 years ago
    Mr. Yon - Truth is evidence gleaned from reality. Thank you for your courage in first-hand reports of the courage of our military, intelligence, and civilian personnel and the truth of their work and exploits. Your dedication makes possible the dissemination of truth in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as from wherever you report. I am appalled when I hear our current national leaders say they resist victory in Afghanistan as that would mean defeat for the enemy and defeat is humiliating.
    Also, it is refreshing to read of upcoming journalists who look to you as a model for truth in reporting. May the Lord bless all of you and keep you; may he make his countenance to shine upon you and keep you safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    "I am appalled when I hear our current national leaders say they resist victory in Afghanistan as that would mean defeat for the enemy and defeat is humiliating. "

    Regretably, an all to common ignorant off the wall comment.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Danny McKinney 1SG R · 12 years ago
    Michael we appreciate your reports. Thx for sending the information and photos. You have sacrificed much in your journey to educate those of U.S. who care. So many in this country don't have a clue, as you can probably tell. Anyway, thx

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steven · 12 years ago
    Glad you´re all still safe. Your feeds are always well received and appreciated.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Asif Ali · 12 years ago
    Stupid Afghanis should know that they should not oppose or fight or resist or stand in the way of "occupation forces". This is the right of Occupation forces to land in any country they want, kill anybody they want and label "Terrorist" anyone that has the courage to fight.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mike · 12 years ago
    Thank God someone finally stood up an held the Al Qaeda and Taliban Occupation forces accountable for inhumane actions...keep up the good work Asif Ali..Insha'Allah
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JohnHoover · 12 years ago
    This dispatch has been dictated by satellite phone due to communications difficulties. My satellite gear has failed on election day.

    So embedded Journalist very experienced in Iraq with all those pics live from war zones in Iraq, but here on the Blue burqas election day his so only poor phone line put him down?

    So cute excuse?

    Note: your satellite phone might jammed by the systems used by US military.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stephen Hughes · 12 years ago
    I was watching a short news reel from the BBC News, they were with a US Army Force in Afghanistan, I did not get the camps name , but it was on a valley floor, the camp was headed by Cpt. Porter . According to the news reel, US can only land & resupply at night and it area is always in heavy combat. . While the BBC news crew was filming they did come under attack.
    Cant these Troopers get a specter gunship support ?
    Now I am just going to put in my 2 cents , I do not want to offend anyone.
    Cant some of these psy ops guys set up speaks at night to make it sound like helicopters are inbound , you are drawing out the enemy so you can ambush him, specter gunships and other on hand. In addition by doing this randomly at night the enemy can’t really tell when there is inbound helicopters’ or not.
    Now one of things some sweared by or sweared at , Nam, was some carried a full magazine load of tracers . This was for directing fire onto a hidden target. This was to alert others the position of the hidden enemy.
    When you shorten your barrel length on your M16 your lessen the powder burn combustion, you reduce muzzle velocity, the kinetic energy –incapacitation factor, less lethal rounds.
    The M16 A2 muzzle break compensator hand the bottomed covered, that keeps dust from fly up in your face as an open bottom would do, when you are laying in a prone firing position, it also acts like muzzle break compensator, as it vents gas upwards , pushing down the barrels upward movement when firing.
    It also appeared this camp did not have any 50 caliber sniper rifles, or some M1A1 match 08’s, if they are on a valley floor they need some good firepower. Also did you ever notice how artillery pieces lengthen the barrel for range & accuracy ? You can do that with an M16, by simply changing the upper receiver to a 24” , 1-9 twist barrel.
    Some Intel guys should collect some spent enemy rounds, from wounded , make some bullet traps or other to obtain info on the type of caliber rounds being shot at these troopers.
    I do not know if you could start a fund drive of some kind for these guys, like adopt a sniper so they could get some good gear.
    From what I saw these guys need some serious support .
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    CNN showed videos of pre-marked (for Kharzai) ballots being handed out to voters, showed "voters" with no voter registration card being able to vote, and other fraudulent activity. The government we are supporting is corrupt. We need to get a clue.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robb · 12 years ago
    Thank you once again for your commitment. It is hard to believe that the truth can be so hard to find. I am thankful for the few people like you that go in harms way to tell the stories that need to be told.

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