And here I am, in my last country of Asia: Afghanistan… After visiting Pakistan’s Pashtun city of Peshawar, I really got interested in knowing more about Afghanistan. But in these war times, I must admit I was a little nervous about the situation. Nevertheless, I had planned my visit thoroughly and had a friend to receive me on arrival, with plans to stay in and close to the Capital: Kabul. Outside this area, it is considered unsafe as the Taliban control many areas and many roads.
And the story all started on the plane from Dubai, where I was sitting next to this “army looking” guy. A little chat with him would make me discover a highly ranked American army guy who has been in Afghanistan for 8 years, very interesting way to start my trip and get his view on the situation out here. “Be very careful out there” he would say to me, and with a reason. But this was coming from a man who hadn’t gotten out of the military base in 8 years if it wasn’t for a mission within the military. It’s true that Kabul is a dangerous place, but still some people have been living here for years without problems, like the typical NGO workers, embassy staff and even some teachers of the American University in Kabul (I would later learn 2 of them got kidnapped, paid ransom and later continue teaching to this day).
View of Afghanistan from the sky
Just to remind me of the delicate situation here, on my ride out of the airport there were police and checkpoints everywhere. It turns out that there had just been one of those suicide bombing attacks near the airport of Kabul with several victims, at just about the same time I had landed… These events are always there to remind me that these things are real…
At least I am in good hands with my friend Tareq which was kind enough to send his driver to pick me up from the airport in a government car since this is where he works. With a special plate that would let us go through these heavily armed roadblocks very quickly, it helps a lot.
Driving around Kabul, in Afghanistan
Just a few hours after arrival, Tareq and his family had prepared a special surprise for me… An invitation to a local Afghan wedding that same night. Incredible as these are always the kind of events that I look forward to, rich in local culture and customs. It turned out an incredible experience, reminding me of the two wedding I had in Iran while visiting there 2 years ago.
More to come about this and my experience on Afghanistan…