Kabul Diaries Part 7: ‘Missing Kabul while living in Kabul’

"These are grim and bleak times for the people of Afghanistan and especially the residents of Kabul." Image supplied.

The daily Jeddojehad (Struggle), a left-wing online Urdu-language paper is posting reports from Kabul. Filed by Yasmeen Afghan (not the author’s real name), these reports depict picture from inside Kabul and cover what is often ignored in the mainstream media.

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First posted: August 28, 2021:

Life under the Taliban is taking a toll on Afghans. There is no public life at the moment. Mullahs have been introduced to a few government posts and the rest of the educated population have been side-lined as if they do not exist. Women have already been told to stay at home as the Taliban fighters have not been trained on how to behave with them.

These are grim and bleak times for the people of Afghanistan and especially the residents of Kabul. Nobody wants to go out unnecessarily and most people prefer to stay at home. The tragedy next to the airport has been covered by most international media, but what is unfolding far from the airport and in the other parts of Kabul city and other provinces does not reach the world.

Shabana Dawran was a presenter and editor at RTA (Radio, Television Afghanistan). She put out a tweet saying, “I live in Kabul but I am missing Kabul”.

If you come across any working Afghan woman who is now forced to stay at home till further notice, she will tell you the same thing, that they miss Kabul, miss being outside.

Zohal (not her real name), 46 years old, who works for an Afghan NGO, stated, “I know I cannot go to my office at the moment, but I try my level best to work from home despite all the threats.”

She added, “I have lived under the Taliban’s previous period for two years and I know how brutal they will get once the pull out is complete so basically, we should be prepared for the worst.”

Zala Zazai, who was an active reserve officer at the Ministry of Interior, has stated: “My mother was not able to complete her education because of the dark period of the Taliban and after the Taliban period, her husband (my father) didn’t allow her to complete her education. Recently she was able to achieve this dream. My mother was a second year Law Faculty. Unfortunately, the Taliban came back and my mother's dream was shattered.”

Wajiha (not her real name), a Kabul resident said, “I am worried for my 13-year-old daughter. Will she be able to complete her education? I don’t know where we can escape to.”

Homeira Qaderi, an author and human rights advocate, said, “We have lost our joys. We have lost our colors. We have lost our choices. We have lost our words.”

Habib Khan, a journalist, put out a statement from one of his interviews with CBC news on his Twitter account: “Afghanistan has become a great prison for its own people.”

A Kabul resident who didn’t want to be identified stated, “There is peace in a graveyard, too. Does the world want us to live in a graveyard without any rights? Will they call that a life?”

Shafiqa Khpulwak, a well-known poet, fiction writer and columnist, tweeted: “It was not the fall of Kabul. It was the fall of our identity. Freedom, cultural heritage, history, diversity, dreams, and the future. The future that we were promised to be different. To be better.”

The lives of Afghans from all walks of life have been impacted by the recent developments in Afghanistan. During the Taliban regime from 1996–2001, music was banned and anybody listening to any sort of music was punished severely.

Nadia Momand, who works for Enikass TV Nangarhar, said: “Today my heart is hurting. Afghan National Institute of Music destroyed their musical instruments. The Orchestra team members of Afghanistan went to their houses, and they will not play again.”

[This article originally appeared in the Urdu-language daily Jeddojehad and has been translated to English to reach a wider audience.]