well-guarded hotel on top of a hill, a lively audience of Afghans and US VIPs
watched the season finale of Afghanistan's version of Australian
performed on a star-shaped stage while graphics flashed in the
Meanwhile, further down that hill,
thousands of Afghans demonstrated on Friday against the re-publication of
Prophet Mohammad drawings in Denmark.
US ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, was among the VIPs
watching the filming of Afghan Star. But because of the protests outside, he
couldn't leave the hotel when he had planned to.
it, fabulous. Better than American Idol," Mr Holbrooke said. "It shows the two
Afghanistans. The riots down there and the show up here."
Holbrooke criticised the way President George W.Bush's administration had
handled the conflict, and said the United States had "neglected" the country
"and now we're playing catch-up".
any of the three remaining candidates for president Republican John McCain and
Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would do a better job in Afghanistan
than Mr Bush.
the hotel's ballroom, 19-year-old Rafi Naabzada was voted the winner of the
third season of Afghan Star, the country's most popular TV
founder of Tolo TV, which produces Afghan Star, Saad Mohseni, said the show was
helping bring about social change in Afghanistan.
just in music, but in the way people voted, the way they lined up in an orderly
manner [outside the show] ... the way the losers are gracious. No one is
threatening violence. That's a huge change," he said.