In with a bullet at number one is ACBAR ! – The Agency Coordinating Body For Afghan Relief. Oh how they must have laughed when they twisted that transliteration of the common Arabic phrase for “God is great”. Allah Akbar… get it? I’m surprised they got away with it. Messing with Allah is probably not the wisest move in an Islamic state hardly known for its liberal sense of humour when it comes to all things godly.
Last month there was a huge suicide attack in Kabul. The first major incident here since February. It occurred outside an acronym – the NATO/ISAF HQ. At first we thought it was a BBIED and then reports came in that it was an RCIED . Turned out it was an SVBIED aka VBIED . There are also credible reports that the Taliban have changed tactics are now using DBIEDs and WBIEDs .
To keep up us up to date with all these incidents there is an organisation called ANSO – the Afghan NGO Safety Office. They get my vote for including an acronym in their own acronym if you get my drift. They love ‘em. Here’s a pythonesque email I received from them recently: “Although a list of commonly used acronyms (CUA) is located at the back of the bi-weekly report, we thought a Pocket Guide to ANSO Acronyms (PGAA) may provide a degree of clarity and be a useful addition to your notice boards. In the event that a rarely used acronym (RUA) is used in ANSO publications and not included in the CUA or the PGAA, please let me know and I will update the list.”
Here’s an RUA for you – WTF ?
In saying all that, they do provide an invaluable service for the NGO community keeping everyone abreast of situations and warnings about attacks – past, present and even the future. However, like economists, if you keep predicting something, eventually you are going to be right . I think they forecasted 15 of the last two kidnappings here. Each email alert comes with location, incident, information and then advice. Some of it is what you might call STBO . In the case of the suicide bombing we are told to “avoid the area”. NWS.
In the case of the recent “dudly’”night missile attacks the advisory notice informed us: “The rockets serve as a reminder to NGOs that blast film and heavy curtains can significantly mitigate any collateral exposure”. So basically it’s like the game of Paper, Rock, Scissors. In this case Heavy Drapes beats Katyusha Rockets . This only works on the premise that 90% of these rockets never explode. They are MIC . The Taliban might as well catapult drainpipes into town for all the use these things are. But the phrase “deadly missile attacks rain down on Kabul” has got a much better ring to it. I now have a prewritten SMS set in my phone: “I am ok mum/dad/nanna/girlfriend” to send after every major/minor incident.
This election month was like a flytrap for the acronym media hordes. BBC, CBS, CNN, AP, AFP. All the bureaus/bars chock full of war junkies tripping over each other to make sure every occurrence in Kabul got full exposure. You can just see the Taliban PR department , feet on the desk, arms behind their heads, watching TV and positively glowing with smug satisfaction – a job well done, thanks in main, to the western media’s total lack of perspective.
Remember the Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic anti-war song Two Tribes about war breaking out and nobody turning up? Well here it seems that the opposite is true. As far as I can tell Iraq is still in flames, yet reporters from Fox, CNN et al claim that the networks do not want the stories. The ‘I’ word is banned. Obama’s War is here . Every hotel in town is bursting in full acknowledgement of that fact. Before Operation Panthers Claw we had a low level (albeit increasing) insurgency, now we have 20 British soldiers killed in one month. Coincidence? Remember the phrase “bring it on”? As the Taliban say, “The more troops they send, the more targets we have ” .
Think I got sidetracked there… see you next week for Military Acronyms – a guide on how to make killing people sound sensitive.
The Afghan Hound