Una española en Afganistán
[Mail de una buena amiga destinada 6 meses en Afganistán. Una parte del mail ha sido eliminada por ser de carácter personal, aunque este post intenta reflejar, precisamente, el sin-sentido en Afganistán desde la perspectiva personal -o como diría ella- another contradiction! Lo ha titulado (en el asunto) Like a billiard ball]
People walking in, people walking out in the same way they came in, falling in love, falling out of love, packing & unpacking, arriving and leaving, taking a flight from a military base to the next one in the most unknown countries you can ever think of, checking in austere looking CONEXES, checking out the next day with sleepy eyes and half-heartedly packed backpacks, living the life of an outlaw cause you are moving at the age of the countries’ sovereignty, saying goodbye constantly to the friends that you just made, having breakfast in a characterless canteen and dinner in another one. Being a girl in the middle of a masculine mass of uniformed souls.
This has been pretty much my life in the last 6 months. There is no regret, no pain but way too many memories from those people, places, missions and also Afghans with their never ending problems and sufferings. It seems that there is absolutely no way out of this misery and chaos!
If it was not for the senseless rigidity of the Spanish army I might have not ended this surreal dream being in the constant state of floating, where nothing is either sure or real, nothing lasts long, nobody is forever. As a matter of fact, you never know what is next, who is going to be in charge, where the next ambush or bomb attack will take place, how many more soldiers with all their gears and heavy bags will be sent to the OPERATON ZONE and how badly each and every single decision can affect your life.
From the personal point of view you never know, who you are going to have a crush on next or even worse when your couple will ditch you irreversibly for another person -it has happened to quite a lot of my acquaintances-! A life full of surprises, full of impotence, your decision does not count, you take orders and you execute them with no questions, no doubts and no apparent criticism.
2 days ago I ended cheerfully my contract with ISAF/NATO/ARMY and get out of their sight being bent under 2 heavy backpacks haling my First Cab in Kabul! I did survive it and as a matter of fact it has become 1 of my favourite activities these days in Kabul, haling a cab in the street with a mixed feeling of danger, adventure and of course mastering the situation. As ignorant as this might sound before arriving in Kabul I was warned about the kidnappers, danger for female alone travellers, etc. Once again, it proved itself as the successful combination of western ignorance and the ordinary man’s fear and prejudices.
I was lucky to have a German friend over in Kabul- another friendship from my “short but nice” army time- who arranged my accommodation and makes sure quite often that I am doing ok moving alone by myself in Kabul. To be honest, I am not that alone since as a rule of thumb I seldom travel alone. For some unexplainable reasons I always end up sharing with somebody.
This time I am accompanied by a guy, Kabul guy –grown up in Canada though-, who is a great entertainer, nice person and a good connoisseur of Kabul and its different facades. We are hanging around the whole day mainly in the coffee shops behind the closed walls, which are meant for the Afghan high society, who speak among themselves predominantly English! -any idea why?- and expats -who also speak English-.
These coffee shops are actually the happening place as I could find out, when a man in a suit sitting next to us happened to be the advisor to the president on “anti corruption issues” and promised me light-heartedly to solve my visa problem in a day! A bit of contradiction maybe!
Anyhow, tonight it’s the Afghan weekend, so we are going to have dinner with the Spanish army folks at the ISAF HQ -WOW- and then check out a few bars/clubs -this is Kabul-. The guys next table are talking about a party in the Saudi embassy!!! Another contradiction!
I’ll be 2 more days in Kabul to have a job interview then head for Herat, a city at the Iranian border which is supposed to be safer, posher. Thus, more Iranian-like -don’t take me for a patriot- and then cross the Afghan Iranian border over land in a bus jammed with Afghan families and business people going through harsh drug controls, etc. And THEN I’ll be back in Iran after 5 years and half maybe just to find out that I prefer to leave for a better place. Where could that be?