Everyone here plays a game of I spy when they are out and about. The idea is that you are trying to work out which of the 200,000 Toyota Corollas in front of you is loaded with fertilizer and ball bearings. It's not quite like the version of the game you played with your parents when stuck on the M6 trying to holiday in the lakes, but it does have a certain frisson that Kendall could never muster. I have always had my own theories when it comes to the updated version of the game, and I am, I think, half right. If I chance upon an ISAF convoy, anywhere, I skedaddle in the other direction, in the guise of someone affecting a classic getaway. So far so good.
However, it appears that the second part of my theory is hopelessly incorrect, and tragically so. My presumption has always been this. If I see a vehicle with women seated alongside the male driver, then it's a safe bet that I am not going to be atomised any time soon. Apparently not! Those clever Talib know that the police are not allowed to stop and search any vehicle that has women in it. So two of the male suicide bombers will sit in the back seats dressed in Burkhas! They bypass checkpoints in a thrice, Kabul's 'Ring of Steel' breached because of a dash of blue silk. Pernicious and devious, but an avowed testament to their desire to succeed.
As if this is not bad enough, I have recently been told this story, which is unsubstantiated, but is accepted as more than possible here. It is heart breaking, I cannot overstate that. A couple of weeks ago 13 ISAF were killed when their Rhino People Carrier was hit by a massive truck bomb on the Darul Aman road, just up from my house. There was it seems, some confusion as to how it had been waved through the heavily guarded checkpoint just seconds before it hit the convoy and detonated. The rumour is that the driver picked up three unwitting children on their way to school, and took them to their deaths. I have simply nothing to add.
There are seven adopted children who live in this house. I have just about come to terms with their names, all of which are unpronounceable and mostly require that I cough up large amounts of phlegm to make the requisite consonant sounds. If Allah had wanted me to spit at people every time I mentioned their name in passing he would have given me bronchial pneumonia! I am getting there though, slowly but perceptibly.
However, if you ask any of them how old they are, they don't know, they have simply no idea. We can all make stab at it, within a year or two, I suppose, but no one knows for sure. At what age do you get a drivers license here, or legally have sex, or vote in an election - when you are old enough to grow a beard I presume. And that's good enough isn't it, when you think about it. I mean, you are a "man my son" when you have a beard. Of course women don't have beards, but they don't count here, so they would be unaffected by this system.
And to prove my point I will leave you with this story, which is at best pure and utter evil! If you are raped in Afghanistan, you are deemed to have committed adultery, and you will be sent to prison. Please try to digest that notion for a second. There is a prominent case here of a young woman who has been raped and she has spent some time locked up here in Kabul, with her child. Members of the international community have setup a petition, which in itself has put those individuals in danger. By yesterday the number who had signed was in excess of 5,000, and this mounting outrage sparked President Karzai into action in the only way the great 'appeaser' knows. This evening it was announced that this poor young lady had been released, but on orders that she marries her rapist. How old do you have to be to have rights in this place? Well, as a woman, the answer is 'NEVER'!
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