Entries by Hamish Wilson

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Helmand 26: Our eyes and ears

I sit with my young Afghan interpreter by the swollen Helmand river watching fish leap out of the fast moving current. “My family thinks I work in Herat. Only my brother knows that I am here…” he tells me, as the icy water swirls past. “In this job it is safer if our friends, our […]

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Helmand 25: The long road to transition

2014 will soon be with us. Over the next two years, international forces are expected to draw down, offering ‘strategic overwatch’ as Afghan government and security forces take the reins. Some argue that it is not soon enough, others that a few short years offers too little time to build the institutions that will be […]

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Building leadership for Transition – the challenge of Afghanistan

The following article is reproduced from People in Aid’s Emergency Capacity Building Project “Case Study of Good Practice” 1. Introduction The continuing conflict in Afghanistan is described as the British Government’s most important foreign priority. Ten years since war first broke out, and with 2014 looming as the anticipated date for transition to full Afghan […]

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The Securitisation of Aid?

Last month, the Feinstein International Centre published an excellent report examining the relationship between aid and security in Afghanistan (Winning Hearts and Minds? http://tinyurl.com/46qpnkw) It presents a rather bleak conclusion; that little evidence exists to support the assumption that aid results in improved stabilisation or security. The report goes on to highlight the root causes […]

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Helmand 24: A fragile gift

The time has come to pass on the mantle of stabilisation in Musa Qal’eh. Angus and myself are making way for a new team, bringing fresh eyes and new energy to the campaign. Reflecting on the past nine months is akin to peering into a bizarre kaleidoscope – an ever-changing fusion of colours and experiences […]

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Helmand 23: What price ‘Acceptable Corruption’?

It costs an awful lot to repair the damage of war. Schools must be built, roads constructed, power and water supplies installed, police stations furnished, telephone networks established and irrigation canals cleared (I could go on..). Such efforts require a ready supply of both skills and materials. Sadly, Musa Qal’eh is short on both, which […]

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Helmand 22: Living with the ‘Devil Dogs’

“I grew up dreaming of becoming a Navy Seal. Then I met some Marines.” Says Major Justin Ansel, the Battalion Executive Officer. “17 years later and Ive never looked back.” As second in command of the First Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment, he has the daunting task of managing well over a thousand Marines across two […]

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Helmand 21: The search for Christmas

If you look hard enough around our base you can find the occasional telltale sign that its Christmas Day. There’s a lonely pine tree, wreathed in lights and baubles perched in the corner of the chow hall, courtesy of a passing helicopter crew. The usual tempo of operations has slowed a little, offering a brief […]

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Helmand 20: The lesson of our town generator

Allow me to share a short but frustrating story about our town generator. I wish to tell you this not simply to unburden myself of a long-festering grievance but also with the hope that there may be some silver lining amongst it all. Bear with me as I delve into a little history to put […]

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Generating leadership action

It is just under a year since Wasafiri was established, and a further five since Impact International first launched its predecessor –  the Relief and Development Group. Over that time we have worked alongside the people and organisations at the heart of some the most compelling issues of our time ~ climate change; poverty; wars […]