Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at site of downed Malaysian plane

    Read more

  • Washington Post correspondent and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Eerie calm precedes Afghanistan's day of reckoning

Text by Leela JACINTO , Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan

Latest update : 2009-08-19

A tense calm has gripped Kabul on the eve of Afghanistan's critical elections. FRANCE 24's Leela Jacinto discovers that with the media ban concealing reports of attacks, the calm appears to be at least partially state-enforced.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 – 9 am
 

On the eve of Afghanistan’s landmark elections, there’s a sense of apprehension in the air. August 19 also happens to be Afghan National Day, so it’s a public holiday. Schools, offices, and most shops are shut down in the Afghan capital of Kabul and residents seem to be staying at home.

 

Kabul’s notorious traffic has calmed down this morning. But although the streets are largely empty, it still takes ages to get from one part of the city to another. Cars are being frequently stopped by Afghan police officials and security is tight.

 

But that did not stop an attack at a local bank this morning. Gunfire could be heard from the building, but there was no word of casualties – yet. The Taliban have claimed the attack – as they usually do. Afghan police officials however say it was a criminal gang. This is a familiar story in Kabul. There are a number of criminal gangs operating in the Afghan capital. But the Afghan Interior Ministry tends to frequently blame unnamed criminal gangs for a number of incidents.

 

The difference though is that, this time, my driver Imamuddin has not heard about the attack. Imamuddin is hooked to the local radio stations blasting in his car, so when I tell him about the attack, he’s surprised he hasn’t heard the news. The media ban seems to be working here.

 

Yesterday, after a particularly grim series of attacks in and around the capital as well as the troubled southern region, the Afghan government issued a statement banning national and local media from covering attacks. International rights groups promptly criticised the move of course. But the Afghan government insists it was intended to "ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people" in tomorrow’s poll. We’ll have to wait 24 critical hours to see if that part of the deal works.

 

 

Date created : 2009-08-19

COMMENT(S)