Assessing risk – that’s Ted Callahan’s role in north-eastern Afghanistan. Callahan, a security advisor for GIZ, loves the scope his job gives him to get to know Afghanistan well, though even he faces a few restrictions on his activities for security reasons. Nevertheless, says Callahan, ‘I really feel I’m back in Afghanistan now.’ What does he mean? Some time ago, before he joined GIZ in 2014, he spent eighteen months as an advisor at NATO Special Operations Headquarters in Afghanistan, based mostly in Kabul where he had little contact with ordinary Afghan people.
Research into local politics in Badakhshan Province
Back in 2006, Callahan’s first experience of the country was quite different: he carried out research into local politics in Badakhshan Province for his PhD in anthropology. Since then, he has spent part of each year in the Hindu Kush. For Callahan and his fellow risk management advisors, travel is essential. To make reliable assessments, they need to observe and analyse the security situation in locations across the country, assessing which areas staff should avoid and advising on how they should conduct themselves. Ted Callahan also speaks one of the local languages, Dari, which is an invaluable tool in his work.
published in akzente 2/16