Reporters on the job
GETTING BEYOND THE WALLS: From the refugee camps along the Afghan border to the capital of Pakistan, security is tightening. In Islamabad, yesterday, for the first time 10-foot sandbag bunkers were built on promontories around the Blue Area, a long boulevard made up of the city's biggest office buildings culminating in a cul de sac of main government buildings. Bunkers have also been placed around several embassies. Pickup trucks with machine guns have also appeared in the capital. And cinderblock walls have been put up around the Marriott Hotel, where many journalists are staying.
The Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that he tried numerous times to get permission to enter Jalozai camp, near Peshawar. But he was told repeatedly by Pakistani officials that no journalists were being allowed into the camp. The reason: after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the "law and order situation" had broken down. But Scott persisted, feeling that it was important to see the condition of refugees in the camp, whether they were receiving food and shelter, and whether there were any new refugees arriving at the camp (page 6). "One Pakistani friend who lives near Jalozai offered to take us in. He failed. Another promised to get us past the police checkpoints, and without telling us the mechanics of it, he succeeded. For the record, the people in Jalozai were much more grim than on previous trips, but they weren't primed for violence toward visitors," he says.
OLD ADDICTS: To get his story about Portugal's decriminalization of all drug use (page 7), reporter Otto Pohl followed a bus run by a nongovernmental organization that was giving out free methadone. The aim is to wean heroin users from their addiction. "What struck me most was how long some of the users had been addicts. I'd always heard heroin addicts are short-lived. While distinctly unhealthy looking, some had been addicts for 20 years."
- David Clark Scott
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