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24/4/2014 11:29
RIA Novosti

Afghanistan Journal

Afghanistan Journal: Truth in the Rain

23/04/201314:11
Afghanistan Journal: Truth in the Rain
Alexey Eremenko

It rained in Kabul over the weekend. The sky was overcast above the perpetually empty rooftop bar across from our hotel, and the fancy caged birds in our garden shook their heads, though the buzz of construction drilling kept going in the semi-skyscraper towering above the district of Shar-e Naw.

My interviews are all postponed, and our fixer was busted along with our cameraman for filming the premises of the “local KGB,” as our main coordinator here, Majid, puts it. Round-bellied Majid has a scowl and a hooked nose that make him look like an evil genie, though he’s been serving the “forces of good” since the 1980s.

© RIA Novosti. Alexey Eremenko

I've nowhere to go – not even to my room, as David the cameraman has the key, and he's got some 'splaining to do before he can leave the precinct. So I kick back in the garden and light my pipe. Our local friends come over to see what I smoke and offer me hashish when they see Irish tobacco. I turn them down and warm my hands on the pipe.

It rained the day before too, when we were driving back from the Panjshir Valley. The mountaintops were lost in a haze as if Afghanistan had dreamed them, and our conversation about the relative losses in the Soviet-Afghan and the Korean war slowly dissipated into gentle snores and meditative silence.

I have records by local bands to check out and possibly review; there are about 17 underground rock ensembles in Kabul now, up from one in 2009. But I put “Riders on the Storm” on repeat. It's as if Jim Morrison was in Shar-e Naw in springtime when he penned it.

It's raining in Kabul. Somehow it fits the city. It's sunny for 300 days a year here, and sunlight can make any place cheery. But when the drizzle washes away the people and the forlorn trees seem to huddle in the garden, you can see the flaking plaster on the buildings and the empty rooms through the gaping windows, and feel the sadness behind Kabul's sunny days.

The Soviet veterans drift outside, and we start chatting about the US helicopters cruising above the thunder, and the tenacious urchins of Chicken Street who can tell you to “f*** off” in perfect Russian.

 

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RIA NovostiAlexey EremenkoAfghanistan Journal: Truth in the Rain

14:11 23/04/2013 It rained in Kabul over the weekend. The sky was overcast above the perpetually empty rooftop bar across from our hotel, and the fancy caged birds in our garden shook their heads, though the buzz of construction drilling kept going in the semi-skyscraper towering above the district of Shar-e Naw.>>

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