In the early weeks of August this year, Kabul was hit by a series of attacks, which killed more than 100 and wounded scores. Three weekends ago, I spent hours in the Baron safe-room and each subsequent blast, instead of being easier to process, became more difficult. The fact that they became familiar was more terrifying, not less.
I read an article recently about the moral complications of disaster rescue, in terms of socio-economic ability. Basically, if you have money, you are evacuated. It is a harsh reality. As I arranged to leave Kabul, I thought of my privilege as an American to board the plane, leaving the country and its unique troubles miles away. read more …
Everyone told me leaving Afghanistan through Kabul International Airport was the most obnoxious of all security I would experience. They were not kidding!
A little background before my narrative; Since 2009, no vehicular traffic is allowed directly outside either the domestic or international terminals, except for a bus that looks like it has survived the 1979 Soviet invasion. The no vehicle policy is for security reasons; the government takes no chances of a suicide car bomb or something similar.
No one can drive a vehicle directly outside of the airport entrance, everyone must walk, that includes VIPs, other dignitaries and everyday people like you and me.
When you first arrive in Kabul airport and leave the terminal instead of being assaulted by a menagerie of vehicles, constant motion, people scurrying about, loading and off-loading passengers and baggage, like most airports, at Kabul one is met by near silence. It is an eerie feeling and one I never experienced anywhere else. Conversation is minimal and you can hear the rolling luggage wheels and footfalls of your fellow travelers. Otherwise, it feels like you are in the wrong place. read more …