Politics are local, even in Afghanistan

Politics are local, even in Afghanistan »Play Video
Village elder Mohammed Zarif is escorted to meet with Governor Abdul Motalib.

BALIKINI, Afghanistan - Governor Abdul Motalib has come to meet the people.

It was Tip O’Neil who said that all politics are local, and that holds just as true in Afghanistan now as it did in Boston then.

The new governor of the Marjah District, Abdul Motalib, was escorted to the Balikini bazaar so that he could meet with his constituents. A large crowd of curious locals gathered around Motalib when he arrived, and the village elder, Mohammed Zarif, walked across the bazaar and down the hill to meet Motalib. They began an animated discussion of water issues.

According to LtCol. Ellison, Battalian Commander for 2/6, and therefore the man who represents the United States in the Marjah District, the water issue is larger than just a district issue, it is an issue for the entire province.

A large crowd gathers to listen to Motalib and Zarif discuss waters needs.

As Motalib and Zarif continue to talk, LtCol. Ellison hands out crayons and pencils to local children, as he always does whenever he is out among the local populace. He tells the children they must someday go to school.

He stops and speaks with several shop owners, asking them how the newly trained local police are doing.

Some vendors come out and engage in spirited discussions with Motalib, others seem to wonder what the fuss is all about.

After a couple of hours, Motalib has toured the entire bazaar and has spoken with as many locals as will speak to him.

Smiling as he leaves, he returns to the military convoy that will return him to Marjah.

 Dan Morrison and Cali Bagby are embedded with the Marines in Helmand province, Afghanistan, north of the Pakistani border, as multimedia journalists for KVAL News.

Morrison teaches photojournalism and multimedia reporting at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, Ore.

Bagby is a freelance multimedia journalist who spent 10 months embedded with the Oregon National Guard in Iraq for KVAL.com.