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Peace News log archive: December 2011

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

Maya Evans gives eye witness report from Kabul where she is on a delegation with the US group Voices for Creative Nonviolence

My first morning in Kabul, I went with Momajan and Roz Mohammed for my first real taste of the outside, a walk to the shops to change my money and top-up an internet dongle. I stepped out into the bright cold streets of Kabul. Initially I was blinded by the brightness of the sun and then choked by the pollution. My immediate thought was that I had stepped into Dickensian London only far worse, piles of rubbish on the street, open sewers running alongside the dirt pavements (also containing rubbish), bric-a-brac junk shops made out of dilapidated shacks, beggars every few yards, the number of people with disabilities is extreme. Air thick with pollution, nothing like anything I’ve experienced during my 18 years of growing up in East London. Pavements are improvised or sometimes non existent; there are no traffic regulations, no zebra crossings or traffic lights. To cross a road you take your life into your own hands zigzagging cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Perhaps the most worrying is the number of people with guns, guards stationed outside buildings, shops, banks all carry a gun slung over their shoulder.

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Maya Evans gives eye witness report from Kabul where she is on a delegation with the US group Voices for Creative Nonviolence

The Sun was setting as my plane approached to land in Kabul. My first sights of Afghanistan were the snow capped hills and gigantic mountain ranges which seemed to stretch forever. From the plane I could see meandering roads snaking round the endless mountain passes. It had just turned to dusk as I exited off the plane and onto the runway; I walked a few feet and onto a bus. The airport seems to double up as a military bay as the number of helicopters and fighter jets are also stationed there. As I got off the bus I was greeted by a large sign “Welcome to Afghanistan, land of the brave”.

I stepped into the immigration hall, basic and dated was my immediate impression. The pale blue uniform of the police looked like something out of a 1970s James Bond movie with pants pulled high up the waist, big belts and flat station master type caps. At a guess the airport interior dated back to the 60s, I later learnt it doesn’t even have a toilet. I immediately headed for a queue with some other women in it. My pious Islamic outfit purchased from Whitechapel Market only a week before hand was probably too authentic as all the other Afghani women wore western jeans and tops with scarves loosely tied round their heads. It’s likely that Afghans on the flight were from middle class backgrounds which may explain their taste in western style.

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