Afghanistan’s 9/13…

Covering terrorist attacks in Afghanistan for its media have become like a real-time action movie (if such thing exists), pictures of shootings, dead and injured people, showing of people running away from the site or sometime towards the sight etc. makes everyone glued to the TVs to see what finally happens, but the events of 9/13-14th which lasted for around 20 hours seemed to be far longer than keeping a regular track of how things developed. The trouble with coverage of such events is that often it ends as an action movie…i.e. as the event ends and is forgotten, I haven’t seen enough of investigative reporting that can explain the routes, and in-depth analysis of where and how such events are planned and masterminded.

These events have reminded Kabul residents of the civil war period. The day was in its business as usual mode as shootings and explosions break out in the mid-day. I skipped the areas just by minutes, though I noticed that several roads were blocked even from the early morning. I noticed a sort of new colour military uniformed soldiers were more visible in several parts of town than usual. My driver says this is a new Amnyat (NSD) uniform. They seemed more nervous and did not let any cars into the blocked areas. As we got to the Shirpor Square, I noticed that the spokes person of foreign ministry (whom I know) was also in his car stopped by the road blockers! So I didn’t even bother asking they should let me in. It may sound strange but many friends and colleagues including myself were somehow expecting a boom to break almost in every little while on that day. This is not a feeling that you’d have everyday, but there are days that you will have it.

For most of how it all went, you maybe find my tweets interesting, but here are a few thoughts:

Often people tend to think that as these events are part of our daily live, we are used to it. I am not so sure, as every time it happens, no matter where I am, I get so worried and think of every single person I know who could be closed by. Worried about people I know and people I imagine are caught under fire. Pictures of young school kids running away from the sight (Saw it in one of tv channels) is still on my mind and you can’t imagine how powerfully it’ll damage their minds to experience something like this. I understand this, as in my own first experience, I was in the classroom when I rocket was launched just in the courtyard of our school…. Years after, I still can’t control my emotions hearing an explosion and jump out of fear…

Another key matter that should be considered seriously and I have not seen anyone doing anything in this regard is: Under such circumstances, what should people do??  I wonder why TVs and Media or government (as responsible for our security) are not putting a few recommendations for people to stay standby, to not run to the scene (believe me after 3 decades of war people still curious to arrive to the event site so eagerly)… and so on. I have spoken to a number of friends/relatives working in government offices, all were either asked to leave their offices or took responsibility to leave their offices… that means none of our government offices have any kind of contingency security plan. Something that could help them stay safer than running out into the streets as the operation is going on.

How it is not avoided: So from what we have seen, NSD knew of the attacks. Through some exapt friends I realised that also embassies received alarms about possible attacks (at least a couple of days before), then it seems many knew it could happen, but failed to avoid it… Probably this is due to the imbalances between the working capacity of ANSF, meaning they are good in knowing what will happen but not in avoiding it.

One of the big issues raised a number of time by Kabul police chief is this Borqa story. They claim terrorists were wearing Borqas and as we don’t have enough female police, we can’t check them. Chief of police says that the insurgents wore Borqas and carried all weapons under their Borqas into the town. But there are plenty of question in people’s minds like: 1)how the 82mm canons, plenty number of Ak-47s, grenades etc. were just fit in a van and under the Borqas??; 2) all our Kabul gates from different sides have male and female officers at check points. That means the team did not entre Kabul gates with Borqas. 3) There are these two big white balloons up on the air that watches all activities, what are they engaged in? If they are not helping us with this kind of security, then what is their functionality?? 4)Why ANSF simply not confess about their inefficiency and that corruption at higher as well as lower levels results into allowing these people to enter  the city?? 5)What is the role of all these ‘ring of steel’ kind of blockades that keeps jamming the traffic most of the time just for searching alcoholic drinks and expired driving licences, aren’t they trained to find suspicious groups?? And many more….

More importantly, I don’t think people could be just fooled by accepting that the Borqas are key reason for women, children and all innocent lives that are taken due to this attack, if so, then what alternative or mitigating plans are there to avoid from future threats??

As an Afghan citizen, the way I felt about this and many pervious events is that the entire security arrangements are just aiming to protect foreign embassies and government buildings, all road blockades, concrete walls that keeps occupying more and more space on our roads, pavements and pedestrians are just seemed to be there to make life difficult or even impossible for Afghans to move around and live in peace.  The terrorists have a clear agenda, they often achieve their goal, not because they are popular or have any support from people, but just because the encountering parties are unable to take clear measures to stop them from their actions.


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