Residential Security in Afghanistan

I have a very good friend of mine who has been employed in recent years trying to help rebuild Afghanistan. He tries to create collaboration, improve education, and assist a war-torn country to move beyond that devastation and into the 21st century. I'd say he has a tough job, and he'd probably agree.

We spent some time going though a couple hundred of his best photos of Afghanistan, and afterwards our talk turned to security, as four of us -- my friend, myself, my friend's brother (who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army) and a former CNN.com reporter who covered the middle East extensively --  burned the midnight oil to talk about the situation in Kabul.

My friend turned from time to time to discuss the security at the home where he and his wife live. We talked a bit about building hardening and how the house met UN/US residential security requirements. We also talked at length about the kind of window protection he has, which I found interesting because I interviewed Hinman Consulting Engineer's Hollice Stone as part of our podcast series for a segment about window films quite recently. I asked him whether his home had been attacked, and he told us, "Many times."

He told me about the "cartoon" riots in his streets (he's near the embassy) that were instigated by the cartoons depicting Mohammed in a Danish publication and how he had to direct his personal security detail on how to respond. He remarked how he studied how riots near the embassy affected his own home and how he spoken with the armed guards in his compound about how their security system needed to change based on how the rioters were presenting themselves when attacking the residential compound, where a number of Americans and other foreigners live.

He told of the rocks that regularly strike his windows when demonstrations and riots occur, and how the film does it job, bouncing the rocks away. But he also told me of the time a projectile, probably a big brick he later found lying in his courtyard, was able to crack the window despite the film. He says he has kept the spider-webbed glass in the window as a daily reminder to himself of the need to be vigilant. And that is the nature of residential security these days in Afghanistan.

-Geoff

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