War Is Boring’s only female correspondent Una Moore is on the ground in Kabul, interning with an aid group while blogging about civil society, women’s issues and the war’s toll on civilians.
by UNA MOORE
“Everything is normal until the moment it’s not, and in that second, everything changes.” That’s what a friend told me during my first week in Afghanistan. It’s the only way to describe life here.
Late last night, my friends and I drove around Kabul’s upper class neighborhoods in search of snacks. All the restaurants were already closed, and there was no food left. Finally, we stopped at the supermarket near our house just as it was closing its doors. The owner was kind enough to let us grab a few things.
As we stood in the checkout line, I looked around at the shelves stocked with imported breakfast cereal and canned fruit and thought about how many foreigners and newly middle-class Afghans pack the aisles during peak shopping hours. I turned to one of my friends and said, “This place is a great target. It’s a matter of time.”
He shook his head, appalled. “Don’t say that.”
We paid for our food and left, spending the rest of a quiet night at home, discussing marriage traditions in the United States and Afghanistan.
Around 7:00 in the morning, I woke up to the sound of gunfire and explosions. My bedroom door shook open and the sounds became louder. One of my housemates bolted out of his room to inform the others that our neighborhood was under attack. I shivered under my three thick blankets. For once, I was grateful to be sleeping on a bedroll, against an interior wall, close to the ground.
The attackers struck just a few blocks from where I live. At least 17 people were killed and dozens more wounded. The targets were a hotel frequented by foreigners, a guesthouse and a nearby shopping center. An aid-worker friend of mine was thrown out of his bed by the force of one of the explosions, and a guesthouse I hang out at lost most of its windows. A microfinance bank was also destroyed. As The Washington Post’s Karin Brulliard put it, the attacks “laid waste to signs of peaceful pursuits in the long-embattled city.”
All of my friends and colleagues are alive and accounted for, and I’m on lockdown until further notice.
Everything is normal in Kabul. Until the moment it’s not.