Kabul, Afghanistan – A fog of uncertainty looms over Afghanistan.
Everywhere you go, from a sports hall in the capital Kabul to a camp in Logar province, everyone is asking the same question: “What will happen?”
People have tried to answer this question, but the sad and scary truth is, we simply won’t know it until we get there.
This lack of a clear answer haunts the population, which fears any scenario that does not lead to true peace.
The other night, a government official said something: “There’s no reason why people should be hopeless, it’s become a buzz word.”
Sitting here on his patio, I looked back on my recent travels in Logar, Parwan, Herat and Nangarhar and said, “No, people are hopeless. They are scared. “
I remember something when my cousin’s nine-year-old daughter, a talented artist and BTS superfan, said at Pashto one night, “We’ll just stay here and die.”
It was born long after the Taliban were ousted from power in a US-led military invasion in 2001.
He studied at a well-known private school that his mother taught. According to all accounts, she should be the literal poster child for the so-called “earnings of the last 20 years.” However, she also feels an invasive fear that politics has made her and her family powerless to flee.
Yes, war is unfortunately nothing for the new generations of Afghans, but now, people feel lost at sea. As if they, and the country, were going aimlessly. They do not know whether they will go towards a deep and dark abyss of more violence and war or some appearance of peace.
Those who have the means choose not to take the risk of waiting for it.
As a journalist friend told a group of us, “I was here when the Soviet tanks rolled in. I saw it myself. So I’m waiting to see if Kabul is recaptured again, I have to sort out my family. now “.
In recent weeks, I have had family and friends in Kabul and the United States call me to apply for the process to obtain a Special Immigrant Visa that the United States promises to journalists, prominent women, and those who have worked for the United States. .
Again, the only answer I can give them is, “I don’t know.”
I have not felt so powerless to help my people since I lived briefly in Istanbul, Turkey (2016-2017), during which Nangarhar refugees who had arrived in the country called me asking for help while Ankara began to deport. the Afghans back to a war zone.
The truth is that the country is not good. People feel trapped between a corrupt government that has largely failed to provide much-needed basic services and a brutal, violent, oppressive Taliban.
It became clear to me after meeting with anti-Taliban rebel forces in Parwan, Logar and Herat over the past month. These forces are fighting for a Republic, not necessarily the current leadership, and more importantly, against the Taliban.
Some people, including powerful lawmakers and senior officials, have tried to blame Washington for overturning its decision to retire until Aug. 31.
Even once, however, speaking to average people in five provinces over the past month, it has become very clear that there is very little love lost between the people and the United States, a nation that had devastated so many local communities with their failed policies, bad-support faith of corrupt leaders, airstrikes, drones and night raids.
What people are angry about is how the US is doing, with no real conditions for the government or the Taliban.
Call the Taliban
In recent days, foreign embassies, including the United States, have issued statements calling for the recent string of Taliban violence, something that some officials, still eager to please foreigners, have praised.
People, however, are left wondering where these convictions have been and the calls for an end to the violence when U.S. officials sat in front of the Taliban in Doha to negotiate a peace agreement.
That pact saw the group agree not to target foreign forces and officials, while its bloody campaign against Afghan, official and civilian security forces continues unabated.
This combination of uncertainty and anger has left a weight on the psyches of millions of Afghan people.
When I traveled to Herat before the Eid al-Adha holidays, I saw a different city. One where the security forces and members of the revolt had set up checkpoints on the way to the districts in which we had traveled freely only two years ago. One where the once lively market behind the famous Masjed Jame was practically empty.
This was the first time in eight years that I had traveled here, that people asked me if I was sure I wanted to go to Herat.
“What if the airport closes while you’re there,” a reporter asked me just before I booked my ticket.
Two days later, when I was seated at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, his words rang in my ears all the time.
“That’s what makes war”
Being here this time, I didn’t think to take a risk or walk about 40 minutes to buy a khamak dozi, a highly prized hand embroidered fabric that can sell for hundreds of dollars.
However, after all these years, I have realized how flat and open the city is.
How easy it will be for the Taliban to rain down on historic sites, government buildings and markets and to wreak havoc on the ancient city.
That’s what war does, it traps you in a cage that becomes more and more confined with each passing day. It deprives you of mobility even in a country full of rivers, mountains, deserts, lush vegetation and historic sites. You need your family. It leaves you in a constant state of alert. He strips the holidays of his joy.