Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We foreigners in Kabul marvel at Afghan 'resilience'. But they have no other choice

Last Wednesday, the deep thump of the bomb woke me up, shaking my bedroom and sending the dogs in the garden into frantic barking. Looking out over Kabul from my roof, a plume of smoke offered a vague sense of direction of the explosion. Social media lit up: Wazir Akbar Khan.

It is an area I know well. During my three years here, I have driven there hundreds of times, on my way to see friends, attend briefings at the palace or pick up groceries. It is referred to as the diplomatic quarter due to the many foreign embassies here. But outside the towering blast walls protecting diplomats, it is also one of Kabul’s busiest areas. Amid a cacophony of horns and cars defying road rules, throngs of pint-sized schoolgirls weave through traffic holding hands. Mobile card sellers hawk their wares for a few bucks alongside disabled beggars on crutches.

By the time I arrived at the site where a gigantic truck bomb had gone off – we would later learn it killed 150 people – it was cordoned off. Outside a nearby hospital, hundreds of crying women and men were banging their fists against the gates, desperate for news of their loved ones.

There was an awkward exchange of looks when a truck full of orange-clad street cleaners passed by. They were tasked with possibly the dirtiest job in town: to sweep away the blood and torn limbs of the same loved ones.

By afternoon, the streets were clean of broken glass and mangled metal. Bakeries were handing out steaming hot bread for the break of fast and barbers were polishing newly replaced windows. Just after sunset, four trucks arrived with gravel to fill up the crater.

Foreigners often marvel at the “resilience” of Afghans. This resilience should not be mistaken for apathy. Life goes on, not because Afghans don’t grieve their daughters and sons as deeply as people less exposed to violence, but because war is so pervasive, and there is no alternative in sight. - More, Guardian

We foreigners in Kabul marvel at Afghan 'resilience'. But they have no ...


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