Fear in Kandahar

From Robert Fisk:

There is a little girl in the Meir Wais hospital with livid scars and dead skin across her face, an obscene map of brown and pink tissue. Then there is another girl, a beautiful child, Khorea Horay, grimacing in pain, her leg amputated, her life destroyed after her foot was torn to pieces. In another ward, two girls lie on their backs, a tent above their limbs. One has lost an arm, another – a 16-year-old – a leg.

Then there is the grim young man with the beard, also in the darkest pain, who looks at me with suspicion and puzzlement. He has a bullet wound in the abdomen, a great incision sutured up after the doctors found it infected. Two other young men, also bearded, cowled in brown “patu” shawls, sit beside this suffering warrior. They, too, stare at me as if I am a visitor from Mars. Perhaps that’s what I am in Kandahar. Better to be a Martian than a Westerner in a city which in all but name has fallen to the Taliban.

The black turbans are everywhere. So are the blue burkhas which we Westerners confidently – stupidly – believed would vanish from Afghan society. But the Taliban insist they were not responsible for throwing acid in the face of the little girl in the second-floor ward at Meir Wais hospital. You know what she is thinking. You know what her parents are thinking. Who will marry this girl now, with her patchwork face of pain? Four men on a motorcycle threw acid at her and 13 of her friends on their way to school. Four were brought here, two dispatched immediately to the eye department. The Taliban deny any involvement. But they would, wouldn’t they?

Khorea Horay is a victim of that other tormentor of southern Afghanistan, the forces of Western “civilisation” who dispense “collateral damage” to the poor and the illiterate of Kandahar province in their determination to bring “freedom” and “democracy” to the land that defeated both Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan. The Americans air-raided her village of Shahrwali Kut in their battle against “terrorism”; a Taliban on a nearby hilltop appears to have fired a missile at Nato troops before our Western technology arrived to crush Khorea’s village. “I looked downwards and my foot was in little pieces,” she said. “They came from the sky and from the ground. It started in the afternoon and went on into the night.” In all, 36 members of a wedding party were killed in Shahrwali Kut on 5 November. That’s why she is one of the lucky ones. But luck is relative. Nato forces in southern Afghanistan have promised an inquiry. Needless to say, not a single Western soldier has visited Khorea’s hospital ward to say sorry, even to offer a little compassion.

Read it here

2 thoughts on “Fear in Kandahar

  1. I often come by your blog to read…but have never posted. I so admire your committment to justice. What happens now I wonder?

    This war in Afghanistan…what on earth will happen. The Taliban will of course take over..its just a matter of time. All those promises ..promises made with the lives of innocent Afghans …our beloved Canadian soldiers. I feel sick.


  2. Hello Laurie. I’m glad you decided to comment. I like the company!

    I woke up today wondering if I’m depressing the hell out of anyone who comes by here – and sometimes I’m depressing myself. I think I’ll try to look for some soothing stuff for a little while.

    As for Afghanistan and what will happen – it’s difficult to find anything hopeful. But there are those who say the only way “out”, for Canada and the US, is to negotiate with some of the more reasonable factions of the Taliban. I found that surprising. We don’t hear much about “reasonable” Talib. I wonder what they’re keeping from us?

    Take care!

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