I’m in Herat, doing a bit of training and support with the development program we have here.
There is a fairly high Taliban/ Armed Opposition Group (AOG) presence, so we have to travel incognito to the villages – local vehicle, local clothes, head coverings, no loitering. The team are doing good work, in a context of chaos and isolation – the expat advisor to the project is only able to visit once a month.
On the return, we get stuck behind a convoy of fuel tankers coming in from Turkmenistan. Every now and again AOG fire RPGs at these tankers, on this very road. I imagine the conflagration if the front vehicle is hit. It is an incentive to overtake and get out of the way.
But the tankers and truckers feel the same way, leading to dangerous bravado and foolish driving.
We make it back safely, and I spend the next day training with the team. Herat is green, cultured and very hot. The people here have a marked pride in themselves, their language and their history. Herati Dari is more formal, like the Farsi spoken in Iran, and I sound like a country fella with my Northern Dari, but the team are gracious in understanding me, though less pleased with some of the changes I propose.