Armoured start, Taliban minded training – Charlotte Osei talks her Afghan experience

Charlotte Osei served as head of UN’s election mission

• She has opened up on her experience in the war-torn country

• She describes them as very polite and welcoming

Charlotte Osei, the former chairperson of the Electoral Commission has opened up on her experience in Afghanistan as head of the United Nations election mission, few years ago.

Charlotte Osei recounts that the citizens of the war-ravaged country are very polite and welcoming.

She explained in a Joy FM interview that contrary to perception held about them, Afghans are nice people. “Afghans are the most hospitable, incredibly sweet, incredibly generous people. They would want you to come [to their] home, and you could not go because security protocols just would not let you do that,” she explained.

“If an Afghan colleague wants me to come over for dinner, they would have to give advanced notice; UN security would have to go to their house, check it out.

“And there were even times that they will tell us, you cannot go to the office this week, we have to do this or we have to build another bunker, so it was a very rigours security system and for good measure.” Charlotte Osei said that like most Ghanaians, the average Afghanistan wanted the basic element of life to survive.

“They want a peaceful life; they want the opportunity to earn a living, for their children to go to school, have a good education, they want them to get jobs and be independent when they finish school.


“You want good health care; you want access to health, the same things we want, you want to be able to go out and having a nice time with your friends and family and get back home safely. So that’s what they want and it’s not exactly what they were getting,” she noted.

Charlotte Osei also recounted her experience with the war and the training she received ahead of her assignment.

She revealed a scary moment where her entourage came fact to face with a group of people wielding guns. “Training on if you are captured by the Talibans what to do and what not to do. The training kept me very worried. They actually laughed at me but I told them I knew this is supposed to make me safer but it is actually made me more worried”, she revealed.

“There was one day we were coming back from the office and my office was 45 minutes drive from the UN compound so it’s always called for a little anxiety and apprehension. Even when you always going in an armored vehicle it should always be in a convoy. So from nowhere, we saw a group of young men about 20 people all holding AK47s, they looked scary. I did not see the driver react so he said this was a local gang. They are walking in front of the car and they just parted and we drove through. I was heart-pounding”, she revealed.

She also disclosed the first two things that was handed her upon arrival in Afghanistan and how those two things proved crucial in her stay there.

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“When I arrived in Kabul, the UN driver and UN armored vehicle meet you. When they take you inside your car the first thing they give you is your bulletproof vest and your helmet…so that is your introduction to life along with your laptop. And you are always in an armored vehicle,” she revealed on the show.