In Afghanistan, real journalists carry cameras

Reporters on the Job: The Afghan province of Wardak, where I did my reporting for today's story about some 3,000 American troops moving into the region, is very rural. In that sense, it is like much of Afghanistan. Even Maydan Shahr, the capital city, resembles a village more than an urban center. In some of the more remote villages I visited, locals have never even traveled to Kabul, even through it is under an hour away by car.

As I traveled through Wardak, I found that many of the villagers were unfamiliar with journalists and their ways. When I tried to interview one villager, for example, he told me, “You can’t be a journalist: You don’t have a video camera.”

I tried to explain that I was a print reporter, but in an area where there are almost no newspapers, people are mostly familiar only with radio and TV media. He wasn’t buying it.

Later I found out that the man was terrified of me and tried desperately to avoid me. He thought the strange-looking foreigner who spoke with an accent and kept asking questions must have been a spy!

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