Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Living to Modernize Afghanistan, and Meeting a Grim End - nytimes

KABUL, Afghanistan — From a dusty village in central Afghanistan, where life depends on the almond harvest, Najiba Hussaini made it far.

Graduating at the top of her high school class, she won a scholarship to earn a degree in computer applications in India, and she went on to the port city of Kobe in Japan to receive a master’s degree in information systems.

Last fall, Ms. Hussaini, 28, returned to lead the database unit at Afghanistan’s mining ministry, developing applications to digitize an old bureaucracy that is crucial to the country’s economic future.

Her life and dreams were cut short on Monday morning as she was making her way to work. A Taliban suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives in western Kabul, killing at least 24 people and wounding another 42, according to Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. Another senior security official put the number of dead at 38.

As has become routine after such large blasts in Kabul, family members searched for hours for news of loved ones, going from hospital to hospital. Many of the bodies, including Ms. Hussaini’s, were badly burned.

While Afghan civilians in the countryside have suffered for years, the intensity of the violence in Kabul, the capital, this year is taking an unusual toll on young and educated Afghans. The attacks not only shatter lives largely built on the past decade’s opportunities, but also exacerbate a sense of hopelessness here that has driven many young Afghans to join an exodus to Europe.

Most of the people killed or wounded in the bombing on Monday worked for the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and were commuting in a minibus from western Kabul. Others were also civilians, including Khala Aziza, a cook at a local orphanage who had five children, now orphans themselves.

“There were 19 employees in that bus; 18 of them were martyred,” said Abdul Qadeer Mutfi, a spokesman for the mining ministry. “All of them were professionals and trained workers.”

A list of the ministry victims broadcast by local news organizations showed that 13 had bachelor’s degrees, in subjects including chemical technology and mineral geology. Two of the victims, including Ms. Hussaini, had master’s degrees. - Read More

Living to Modernize Afghanistan, and Meeting a Grim End - The New ...


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