Sometimes I think that all of the stories about Afghanistan have already been told. I’ve read so many books about life here – stories about life under the Taliban, traveling with the mujahadin, and interactions with Afghans in the near and far reaches of the country. These stories are about war, loss, resilience, survival, family, sacrifice, love of country. There are so many of them. But there is always one more, your story or a story about someone you know. I think the narratives complete and clash with each other because seemingly everyone here has something compelling to say. It’s a complicated, place.
I’ve just returned after a break, and to say that I was gone in a time of great tumult is an understatement. The death of a dear colleague Anne Smedinghoff, and the injuries to others I work with, are now part of the story of Afghanistan, and always will be. They are also about war, loss, resilience, survival, family, sacrifice, love of country. I hope that as the story of this point in time here gets told, we don’t forget those who sacrificed so much to build a better future, and I hope we never forget Anne’s work.