Off to Afghanistan!

The visas have been acquired: Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and even the much coveted Iranian visa. It was touch and go there for a while: we had to shell out over 3,000 euros to an Iranian fixer just to score the visa, which just got us the document today. And I leave Sunday.

Equipment has been purchased: sleep sacks, backpacks, water purification tablets, Starbucks individual instant coffees, antibiotics, antidiarrhea medications. Satellite equipment has been rented. Solar panels and batteries and video cameras–all the stuff you need to document such a trip and transmit the results.

Tickets have been purchased: New York to Mumbai, Mumbai to Dubai, Dubai to Dushanbe.

Total cost so far: $35,000 plus.

And now I’m leaving Sunday.

I’ll start filing the cartoon blogs around August 10, and will enter Afghanistan from Tajikistan, toward Taloqan (which may or not be controlled by the Taliban when we arrive) on August 13. If you contributed, you’ll get the blog via Stephanie McMillan, who is my stateside liaison for distribution.

That’s the plan, anyway. I’m going with Matt Bors and Steven Cloud, fellow cartoonists and bon vivants.

Oh, and the beard. The beard is looking good, I think, but judge for yourself.


  • Make sure and bring Matt and Steven back safe and sound (and yourself, too).

  • Will you be in Dubai very long? Will you leave the Dubai airport?

    The best way to report on a place like Afghanistan is from a 5-star (or 7-star) hotel in Dubai. As best we can tell, it worked for Marco Polo (his hotel was probably in Iraq al Ajam, but may possibly have been in Samarkand).

    And it worked for most of the reporters on the war in Afghanistan, who reported things I know were false, and which they couldn’t possibly have (honestly) written had they actually spent any time in Afghanistan outside the US military compounds.

    I am looking forward to your columns from Afghanistan, and hope they all make it here.

  • The beard looks more Unix guru than Quran scholar, but hey, I guess it’ll fly with the wackos down there. Good luck, God bless, stay safe and return safe! Oh, and try your best to hit the TV shows after that to be the scourge of neocons and a contributing voice to end the madness.

  • Great. You look like Robert Spencer from!)

  • Stay safe Ted!

  • Ted,

    I’ve been a fan since I was a high school student. I think you’re frequently brilliant. Other times you annoy the hell out of me. Even when I think you’re dead wrong, I appreciate that you challenge me to re-evaluate the conventional wisdom on a given issue.

    I look forward to your reporting from Afghanistan. I recall reading the columns from your last trip. At a time when Afghanistan was “The Good War” and we were “winning”, you were presenting an account that flatly contradicted everything I had been led to believe. History has shown that you were correct. Some of your conclusions even eventually became the accepted conventional wisdom — many years too late.

    Unfortunately most Americans display an appalling lack of interest in this very important place. I believe good citizens have a duty to stay informed about our government’s military actions, whether or not we support them. I think there’s some good reporting about Afghanistan out there, but not nearly enough of it. Thanks for having the balls to go back. If your perspective from the ground proves as prescient as it did last time, you’ll be providing us an invaluable service.

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