Kabul… the name itself invokes a near mystical connotation of romances from the hippie’s trail of the 60s. How I envy those who were fortunate enough to have seen Afghanistan and Kabul in her heydays!
Kabul (and certainly all of Afghanistan) has been ravaged by more than 30 years of warfare. Although those whom I’ve spoken to seems to have different opinions of which era of the warring period is ‘better’ I feel an underlying current of resentment to the presence of the current crop of occupying foreign armies - most notably the Americans…
Take a walk in Kabul and you will see big SUVs full of bodyguards and their charges zipping by, enormous concrete barricades, concertina wires, open sewers, and INSANE traffic. Pedestrian crossings are either non-existent or for show and the lack of traffic lights make it so much worse. Trying not to get run over is definitely higher on the list than kidnapping or suicide bombing!
It is unfortunate that the reconstruction is going too slowly for most of the people in the country. Kabul, with all the international aids pouring in, seems to have seen very little of that: corruption is such a way of life here for the officials that it even puts China to shame.
However, the one thing that struck me most among all these was the resilience of the people. They make do! They survive! And yet they still find time to smile at a foreign (ok…I actually mean Asian as I’m referring to myself) face, offer tea and a chat.
Anyway, this is my last night here and I leave for Bagram Air Base tomorrow to report in for my embed. Stay cool, people!