A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Stop Walking! Updated

Warning: Rant Ahead

On 20 October Gayle Williams was shot and killed in Kabul while walking to work. This morning a French aid worker was reportedly kidnapped while walking in Karta Parwan.

I know that many international aid workers want to avoid “white 4x4 syndrome’” and hate the feeling of isolation that security precautions can bring. I know it. I understand it. However it is time to recognize that it is no longer safe for obvious foreign nationals to walk on the streets of Kabul. Certainly one may be only marginally safer in a vehicle but marginally safer is better than nothing.

As an international aid worker it might help to remember that the work you do has greater benefit than does your visible presence on the street.

Update: It looks like the French aid worker may not have been walking when he was kidnapped. I still stand by my advice though - stay off the streets until things improve.

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