The Survival Guide to Kabul©

Published internationally in July 2003 as Kabul: The Bradt Mini Guide.

First published in Kabul in September 2002 as a pamphlet.

 

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Photo story: The Christian Cemetery

March 2003

 

November 9 2003

Photos: Remembrance Sunday service at the British Cemetery.

 

British Army Chaplains web page on the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

The cemetery guardian, 60 year-old Rahim Mullah has been tending the graves for 17 years and can give lots of extra insights into the history of those buried here. For Rahim the Taliban period was a difficult one. He confesses that he was heavily criticized during that time for continuing to tend the cemetery. And though he was salaried, his income dried up after the NGO who was paying him, International Organisation for Migration, was bombed and pulled out of the country. Money was sent in from Peshawar in Pakistan, but it was an uncertain trickle of funds. He was even confronted by Mullah Omar three months before the fall of the Taliban in November 2001. The Taliban headquarters were in the buildings that line the right wall of the cemetery as you enter. One day, the famed, one-eyed leader of the Taliban movement decided to see the graveyard for himself. He was shown around by Rahim and stayed for twenty minutes. But before leaving Mullah Omar asked Rahim what he thought he was doing working in such a place. “I am an illiterate man,” answered Rahim. “And everyone knows that to be illiterate is like being blind (and therefore ignorant).” To which Mullah Omar is reputed to have replied, “But I too am blind!” before clapping Rahim on the back and bursting in to laughter. Today the British Embassy in Kabul pays Rahim’s salary and he looks forward to passing the mantle of service on to his oldest son. Around 50 people visit the graveyard every week.

 

     

 

 

كابل، افغانستان

The Survival Guide to Kabul©

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