Suicide bombs and stationary

I had planned to go into Kabul town this morning to buy a few bits of stationary for the Hagar office. It is now habitable, and we have now moved in a few days ago – it took quite a while to paint, clean, fix the bathroom, fix the drains, repair the ‘kitchen’ (a sink), put windows in, get electricity sorted, etc. But we moved in on July 5, and spent the day putting down carpet and sweeping up dead scorpions and putting furniture together, and by yesterday it was clear we need files, pens, staplers, sticky tape and so on. All the stuff of an office.

But while I was footling around trying to fix a stuck drawer on my new desk, I got a text message from Julie, advising me a bomb had gone off in the town centre. I asked around and it wasn’t long before the news filtered through. It happened at the Indian Embassy – which is right next to the Passport Office, which, if you have read the saga of Hagar’s registration, you will know is a place I have spent quite a lot of time the last weeks. Just next to the Ministry of Economy, where Jalil hangs out, crouching as he does ( I had planned to go visit him today, too)

The Indian Embassy and the Passport Office are literally side by side. Maybe 10m apart.

I have been close to suicide bombs before here, but for some reason, I felt quite apprehensive about heading into town when this news came in. Maybe because there hasn’t been any bombs for several weeks. Maybe because previous targets tended to be the World Bank, political targets, military targets, USAID and so on. Places I can readily avoid. The Indian Embassy had not, in my mind, joined that list of ‘places to avoid’.

I thought about it as we drove into town. You have to be very unlucky to be in the same place at the same time as a bomb goes off. But, in a suicide bomb, someone is always unlucky. This morning, 40 people were really unlucky, and about 120 just quite unlucky.

We got the staplers, the hole punches, a carton of paper, pens, pencils, rulers, white-out liquid, sticky tape, files, scissors and all that stuff. And drove back to the office and put it all together and that was the day. I came home and played with the kids and we had mashed potato and old chicken for dinner.

I think though that I am struggling. Struggling to put together in my mind the very different days that I, and others in Kabul had today.


3 thoughts on “Suicide bombs and stationary

  1. Hey mate, Your writing seems perfectly familiar. It was also a shockingly large bomb after a considerable lull. We have had that surreal feeling of getting text messages and then watching as footage scraps make it to local TV seeing bodies and injuried people on buses on roads we frequent and just wondering why their luck was so bad and ours ok again. I think the struggles, numbness and need to write are all signs of healthy awareness that the world in which we live is anything but how it should be at times. Much love and prayers for safety for you all.

  2. I’d like to say, be careful out there – but how can you? So I’ll just say – hope you continue being lucky out there.

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