Alexander Merkushev
Anecdotal account of the war on terror in Afghanistan and other crises, and how the world's journalists cope with associated distractions

~ Alexander Merkushev


When Russian tanks rolled into the streets of Grozny, the capital of Russia's breakaway province of Chechnya, at the start of the "first war" (1994-1996), there suddenly appeared a white-bearded man in a flowing robe with an intricate turban on his head. Positioning himself in front of the first armored vehicle, the elder slowly raised his hand - and the entire advancing column of ruthless metal ground to a screeching halt due to the sheer strength of his mental power.

The old man was a messenger of the Prophet or, most likely, the Prophet himself, who thus personally intervened to help his favorite Islamic tribe, insist the Chechens, who have a lot of tales of this sort to share with journalists willing to listen and record them on tape or paper, or just commit them to memory. Needless to say, the Prophet has abandoned, at least for now, the small ethnic group to the mercy of a bigger nation.

The folklore of journalists around the world abounds in such tales.

DISCLAIMER: The account presented on the following Web pages is based on my personal experience as a newsman in many a difficult or funny situation in Afghanistan, as well as on my colleagues' tales, which I have retained in my memory, and this memory, I must admit, is not what it used to be.

Some of the names mentioned in the unfolding sequence of yet to be edited notes, a job unlikely to be ever completed, have been made up or altered so as not to unwittingly attribute deeds - or misdeeds - to wrong people or companies, and thus to avoid the discomfort of meeting them again on a narrow street or seeking employment with them. My inner voice, though, says it is an exaggeration to assume my humble writing, lost in the wilderness of the World Wide Web, may cause problems either to myself or to the parties described - so expect a lot of truth.

All the photographs have been shot by the author, unless stated otherwise.

NB: Best viewed at 1024x768 screen resolution with fast Internet connection due to the high number of graphics.

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Girl near a Soviet tank

Hundreds of Soviet tanks rust along Afghanistan's river valleys, on mountain slopes, and in the fields, stopped by this girl's father and his brothers-in-arms in the 1980s. September 2001.






Alexander Merkushev
Photo by Alexander Mursa
Afghanistan, 2001

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Alexander Merkushev
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