Just last week I was musing on the ramifications of my new quarters and the security measures therein, and I pointed out that Kabul is actually safer than most people think it is. There is always at least a minimum level of risk, but I'm not trudging through the valleys of Paktika or hiking the deserts of Helmand.
Why, oh why do I open my big mouth?
By now, anyone who follows even the headlines of media coverage about Afghanistan will be aware of the events of last Wednesday. (Coverage here if you've missed the nightly news lately.) It was a pretty shocking event, even by A-stan standards. There are occasional rockets or mortars fired into Kabul, most of which fall on the outskirts of the city and cause little damage and limited casualties. Even more rarely, a Taliban gunman will open fire on a police checkpoint and quickly get shot down. Overall, the ANP keeps a pretty tight lid on Kabul, with numerous checkpoints, guard posts and vehicular searches. Inconvenient sure, but necessary and up until Wednesday reasonably effective.
Well, apparently some of the bad guys slipped through the net. For reasons surpassing understanding, the BBC failed to report the most important aspect of Wednesday events, namely that the whole thing happened about 30 meters from my front door. Makes for a pretty exciting morning, I can assure you.
Below are a couple of videos, the first shot during the attack (although for obvious reasons it doesn't show the actual fighting), the second shot later on in the day. I apologize for the quality of the video; I wasn't fully in the right frame of mind for memorializing the event. Guess I wouldn't make much of a combat photojournalist.
Later on, some thoughts on the BBC reporting and the implications of this attack for life in Kabul.