Being 20 in Kabul

Gaël Turine

Afghanistan has suffered war since 1979, year during which the Soviet troops invaded the country. Until the end of the resistance war, carried out by the various Moudjahidines factions, Kabul had always been spared by heavy destructive fights. After the departure of the last contingents of the Red Army settled in Afghanistan, a fratricidal war started between the armed-to-teeth war leaders. Kabul thus underwent the most important bombardments resulting in death of thousands of civil people and a gigantic exodus. In 1996, when the Talibans took the capital, an Islamist system, not recognized by the international community, settled. A form of peace returned.

The youth of Kabul knew all these aspects of the war: the invasion by the soviet tanks, political and military repression under the pro-soviet system, the exile in Pakistan or in Iran, the fathers engaged in the Moudjaihidines forces, the civil war, and finally the arrival of the Talibans and a Charia that has never been seen yet.
To be 20 years old in Kabul means to have known all these episodes. And especially to have won the war. To win the war didn't mean to support a party rather than another, but to survive.

The youth of Kabul more or less succeeded not to lose the hope of seeing peace returning and settling definitively. The will of the young people to be the actors of the change of their fatherland is obvious. They know that the country is emptied of its doctors, lawyers, journalists, engineers, translators, teachers…They are the relief of this wounded country. Thousands of them took up the courses again; as many registered in language and data processing schools…Some young people, back from Pakistan, are even English teachers or electronics engineers.
The country is torn between tradition and modernity, between religion and progressionism. They are happy that the terror of the Taliban system belongs to the past. It is difficult to imagine that the nightmare is over.

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