Seven Steps to Security Serenity in Kabul

April 23, 2014

kabul290You can find humour anyhere. If you look for it. In fact in this place, to which we should ascribe ingrained sadness, there is a vein of light heartedness that everyone is so ready to tap. As friend Ray noted last week, these people are so quick to laugh and smile, unless and until you put a camera in front of them. Then they become as grave and as implacable as a thirteen year old girl with braces that went on only yesterday. There is even an ironic humour contained in the ‘seven steps to security serenity’ to which every departing traveller using the international airport is subject. It goes something like this. Read more

What Were You Thinking?!

April 11, 2014

face290Afghanistan now stretches out below me like an old brown blanket, little patches of squares hinting at villages made of those clay walled square compounds. We have quickly left the snow capped ramparts that surround Kabul. Two months ago the city was captive to blue white, but the rising temperature has quickly melted that away. Now only the highest peaks, and those slopes facing north are softened by it.

As a I walked down the ramp to the Emirates flight texts on my phone  alerted me to the attack on the front gate of the Ministry of Interior. At least five police dead. The sun sparkled over us and a vibrant blue hummed  spring across the heavens.  I looked at the ground crew doing their thing.  Looked at the older Afghan grandmother in front of me clutching a brand new passport up to her face with both hands. Glanced back at the Russian contractors clearly happy to be leaving town. Then across the city towards TV hill. Just this side of that hill people are picking up body parts of friends and colleagues. And at least five men are not going home tonight. I shuffle forward, my passport is examined by a kid in winter uniform who does not know what he is doing and soon (quickly) I forget what has happened in the city as I stow bags and get settled into my seat. It’s all we can do really. Read more