Afghanistan: Growing up in a never-ending war

Civil society activists light candles during a memorial for the victims of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1 June 2017. (EPA/Jawad Jalali)

This is the fifth and final contribution by a young reader following recent extremist attacks in Kabul and London. You can read our full file on terrorism here.

By Atiq Rahimi

Last Wednesday felt like any other day. I was at the office, sitting at my desk reading emails, when a loud blast rocked the building.

My colleague and I recognized the sound of an explosion. It was so loud we thought it must have been nearby. I glanced at the street from the window behind my desk. Kids were running toward their homes with terrified faces.

We could see nothing of the explosion from that window, so we turned to the other window in the room and noticed a huge column of smoke rising behind Asmai Mountain, from the center of the city.

I immediately thought of my older brother who works in the area. I tried calling him, but his phone did not answer. I called again and again until I received a text message: “I’m ok.” I was relieved but still wanted to hear his voice.

I wasn’t entirely sure yet where the explosion had occurred, so I called my younger brother’s phone. He studies at a high school near the Supreme Court, which has been targeted many times. Uncharacteristically, he picked up at the first ring and ensured me he was alright. I told him we were as well. Then I called my mom, who was on her way to check my brother at school, crying. I told her my brothers were fine and asked her to go home.

A never-ending process

I left the room and went downstairs to be alone for a while. I was thinking about our uncertain future. How these incidents can destroy our generation’s hopes for a better future. How we have grown up in war and how it seems a never-ending process.

There was call for blood donations on Facebook. A colleague asked us if we wanted to go, and five of us set off for Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, where victims were being treated. The road was closed around Zanbaq Square, near the explosion, so we agreed to return to the office and to try to reach the hospital after Iftar, the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

I asked my colleagues to drop me on the way and took public transport to reach Masud Square, by the Supreme Court and the American Embassy. From there, I walked to the blood bank of Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital.

A few minutes later, I was lying on a bench staring at a plastic bag filled with blood with my name on it. With a smile, the doctor poked fun at me for having a girlish hand — he couldn’t find my vein easily.

As I walked back home, I went on Facebook to encourage others to donate blood.

On social media, the Government’s statements were the same as usual: “Paradise for the martyred, a quick recovery for the injured and patience for survivors.” We are sick of these statements. It seems they have standard statements for attacks and post them after every deadly event, only changing the date and location.


Atiq Rahimi is from Afghanistan and lives in Kabul with his mother and brothers. During the Afghan Civil War, his family was displaced to Quetta, Pakistan, and returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. After completing high school in Kabul, Atiq received a scholarship to study in India. He now works as a researcher for a local NGO in Kabul. He is a movie-lover and an amateur photographer. 

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