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Exposed to Unpredictable Horror

Esmael Darman

Afghan children running away from the scene of the recent suicide attack in Kabul. Photo: Reuters

Afghan citizens have been going through long periods of war for over the past 30 years. By now, millions have been displaced, hundreds of thousands killed or disabled, and the major infrastructures seriously damaged. Nevertheless, the war had a different shape. There was the regime and there were the rebels. The lines were pretty much clear.

But this picture has changed after the first suicide attack took place in Afghanistan. Most of these attacks are planned in crowded areas of the major cities. Kabul, for instance, looks more like a military base rather than a city. Its appearance has changed. Its dynamic has changed. Its people have changed.

Apart from the demographic shift in Kabul in the past decade, one of the major reasons that keep people on edge is suicide bombings. These attacks do not require the investment and management of a small brigade let alone an army. They don’t require a big budget. All is needed is a few number of brain-washed fanatics, some explosives, and a good plan. At the same time, however, they consume significant resources in order to be prevented.

On the other hand, a plan of this small caliber leaves a very deep impact. It leaves uncertainty. It worsens unpredictability. It shatters the trust in security and it causes an increasing sense of constant instability. And this is this feeling of constant instability that is a killer. People just become unable to think or manage how to stay safe, how to keep children away from violence, and how to plan for future. This is because suicide attacks can happen anywhere at any time. They have this element to dash people’s hopes and wreck their nerves.

It is true that our people have shown resiliency and that is how they survived. However, it has come with a heavy cost that we must not ignore. Along this painful journey, relationships have shattered. Extremism has become stronger. Violence has become more prevalent.

Therefore, the mere element of resiliency in people doesn’t mean the government stop taking proper measures to put an end to these attacks or at least manage them in an efficient manner. The simple yet compelling question is: how can we expect our children, the next generation, to be non-violent, open-minded, and law-abiding citizens whereas they are exposed to such horror and trauma too much and too often?


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Rawan Online is the first website on psychology and mental health for Afghans covering a wide range of topics related to health and relationships.

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