• Right Place, Right Time: Afghan politics can be amazingly transparent, if you know where to look," says staff writer Scott Baldauf. "I caught up with Abdul Hafiz Mansoor [a leader of the Jamiat Islami, an Islamist party that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s] at a large gathering of journalists in Kabul," says Scott. "We sat down to start our interview, when suddenly a group of men in suits arrived to shake Mr. Mansoor's hand.
It turned out they were all high-level officials from various mujahideen parties, waiting for Mansoor to join them for a meeting. I had planned to ask Mansoor for confirmation that these parties were in fact meeting to plot strategy for the loya jirga (page 1), and here was the evidence right in front of my face."
• A Man's World? While working on today's story about US troops operating in southern Afghanistan, reporter Ann Scott Tyson joined a military police patrol through the city of Kandahar. She - and the locals - were surprised by the gender of the patrols: Both the driver and the commander of the armored vehicle were women. Ann also noted that the duty was risky, given the recent attacks in the city and the discovery of a major weapons cache (page 7); they were patrolling a crowded downtown market area.
"The presence of an armored vehicle with swiveling machine guns in the middle of the market had local residents awestruck," says Ann. "They didn't stop the vehicle. I think it would have caused too much of a commotion," she says.
David Clark Scott