AFTER working in Afghanistan as a foreign correspondent, Sally Sara has an insight like few others.
She has seen the country's conflict first-hand and has a deep understanding of the culture and people.
Sally shared her experiences to an audience of about 200 people in Bordertown last week at an evening organised by Women in Business and Regional Development.
Hosted by ABC SE's morning presenter Stan Thomson, "Reflections with Sally Sara AM" was an opportunity for locals to hear about life as an Australian reporter in Afghanistan.
Sally spoke of her living conditions, what it was like to be a female journalist and the precautions her small team had to take in order to stay safe.
"The frontline can be pretty scary but I kept a lot of that out of my mind," she said. "I attracted a lot of attention as a female so had to cover up as much as possible so I did not stand out."
She said Afghanistan was one of the most beautiful countries she had ever been to and it was very different to the stereotypical image, despite the devastation caused by the war.
Sally went through a powerpoint of emotive photographs and told anecdotes to the enthralled audience.
She explained how technology was used in war and covering the conflict, including social media.
"Twitter is very important," she said. "Even the Taliban are on Twitter - after attacks they often brag on it.
"Most people don't realise there is a cyber propaganda war going on as well as the physical fighting."
Sally carried about 36kg of gear with her each day - but that was a lot less than it ever used to be.
"Technology is better and gear is smaller which has opened the door for a lot of women journalists who would have struggled to carry it before," she said.
Furthermore, she spoke of the extreme poverty, gender inequality and innocent lives that had been lost in Afghanistan.
"The largest number of casualties are by far women and children."
Despite this, humour was her way of coping with the harsh reality of life in the Middle East.
"There is a lot of dark humour going on between us foreigners as a way to get through," she observed.
Now back in Australia, Sally is a regional and rural affairs correspondent for the ABC.
Growing up in the small town of Port Broughton, she finds the big issues in rural areas interesting and varied.
However, she found transitioning into life back home difficult.
"It is very unsettling to come back," she said. "It is easier to go over."
Sally has been named SA Young Journalist of the Year and Queensland Journalist of the Year, and has won United Nations Media Peace Awards and medals at the New York Festival Radio and Television Awards. She is also a six-time finalist in the Walkley Awards for Journalism and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to journalism and the community in 2011.
WIB&RD is sponsored by 24 local businesses including major sponsor Statewide Shearing Services. The gala evening included Sally's presentation, a question and answer session, an auction of donated goods and supper.