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January 25, 2003

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We wandered around Herat, mingling with local people and feeling marooned. Within Afghanistan Herat is called an island of advancing civilization, law and order. The governor of Herat, Ishmail Khan, is a warlord who rules this city and province with absolute power. One man has told us he has 30,000 mujadeen, Aghanistan's famed guerrilla fighters, under his control along with the regular Afghan Army. All power rests with this man, yet he seems to be using it well. NGO's (non-governmental organizations, mainly charity foundations), foreign military, as well as many local people we've met respect his leadership. Construction work progresses, road work gets done, and most important for us, the security is tight. US Army personnel tell us that Khan guarantees the safety of Americans in his province. However, talking to local Afghans we learn that the people do not approve of the warlords, who they say are more corrupt and uneducated than the Taliban.
Turban tying 101.
As in Iran, but not Pakistan, drive on the right side of the road in Afghanistan Yield to horses.
Herat's streets