May 2, 1988 |
The search begins soon after darkness falls. Huge spotlights, beamed from as many as seven different mountaintops, do a slow scan of the barren cliffs that surround the ancient city below. If something moves, if something seems to move, the spotlight stops. Sometimes firing begins. Soon the lights move on. On most nights, the sounds of battle also can be heard from beyond the first ring of craggy mountains. There's the loud blast of Soviet artillery from the big guns of the outer defense perimeter, the rat-a-tat of machine guns, the thud of mortars coming from the darkness beyond.
November 14, 2001 |
When anti-Taliban troops entered Afghanistan's capital yesterday, they received a muted welcome in a city weary from war and 37 days of American bombing. Children cheered; teenagers tossed bits of paper and candy; and adults mostly stared impassively as trucks packed with soldiers of the opposition Northern Alliance drove into the capital, horns blaring. There were no huge, enthusiastic crowds to greet the new occupation forces. Many residents had cleared out during the U.S. bombing campaign, and those who remained in the city shut down their shops yesterday for fear of a bloody battle for the capital.
May 6, 1989 |
Three Afghan soldiers sit and chat as they guard a large army base on the outskirts of town. Another soldier dozes in the sun. Three months ago, more than a dozen Soviet soldiers manned this post. Now, their nearby machine-gun pillbox has been deserted. In the swirling bazaars of central Kabul, people come and go with hardly a soldier around to pay heed. Three months ago, Soviet and Afghan soldiers were a constant presence, and a tank sometimes sat in the main Saray Shahzadah bazaar.
June 3, 1989 |
There was a gaping hole in the roof of one of the mud-and-brick homes in the Khair Khanna neighborhood, where a mujaheddin rocket had exploded the day before. Several somber, still-stunned men were working to repair the hole, but they did their work with slow hands and heavy hearts. Women in a nearby room wept. They were crying for the 12-year-old boy who died when the rocket landed in the small family compound last month, and for the several women who were badly injured. But they were also crying for themselves, and for the terrible realities and complexities of the 11-year Afghan war. Because this family - like many others in Khair Khanna - is a mujaheddin family.
February 6, 1989 |
Soviet troops completed their withdrawal from the Afghan capital of Kabul yesterday, Moscow Radio reported. The surprise report, monitored by the British Broadcasting Corp., came as Afghan President Najibullah's Soviet-backed administration put Kabul under martial law yesterday, handing out weapons to its party members and vowing never to surrender to Afghan guerrillas. Ten days before the agreed-to deadline for the departure of all Soviet soldiers from Afghanistan, Moscow Radio quoted today's edition of the newspaper Pravda as saying that the last Soviet soldier left Kabul yesterday, the BBC reported.
November 16, 2001 |
Technicians yesterday dusted off equipment at the studios of Afghan Television, hopeful that the national broadcaster would be operating this weekend for the first time in more than five years. "I'm happy to put something on the air for people," said Safi Abdulghani, an engineer who had been unemployed since the hard-line Taliban came to power in 1996 and banned photography, movies, music, home computers and television as anathema to Islam. With the Taliban's ouster from Kabul on Monday by opposition Northern Alliance forces, the veil is slowly lifting from Afghan society.
December 30, 2001 |
In the mesmerizing monologue that launches Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul, an Englishwoman reads excerpts from a guidebook to Kabul that is 30 years out of date. Since Kushner completed Homebody/Kabul, a marathon and demanding drama about the anguish of Afghanistan, before the unimaginable events of the last few months, you also might expect the play to be so far behind the times as to be irrelevant. But this engrossing piece, which places lost souls of various cultures in the ravaged landscape of a ruined country, has a power and eloquence that deepen and amplify our understanding of what subsequently happened by forcing us to look at it from many angles.
May 18, 2004 |
The potentially explosive theatrical ingredients are as follows: 1. A new Tony Kushner play, with the head-scratching title Homebody/Kabul. 2. A plot that deals with the tragic recent history of Afghanistan. 3. A four-hour running time. No wonder you're groping for a seat belt as the lights go down at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Homebody/Kabul plays through May 30. And in the opening minutes - and be on time, because latecomers aren't seated - the award-heaped author of Angels in America is firing on cylinders you didn't know he had in an hourlong monologue by a British housewife (the Homebody)
January 29, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - In the gray light of each cold dawn, the parents of 10-month-old Shoaib hold their own breath as they listen for the rasp of his, waiting to see whether their coughing, feverish little boy has survived another night. Winter's chill has settled over the Afghan capital, and with it, privation is sharpening, especially among the city's poor. Nighttime temperatures regularly fall into the teens or lower. The season's first snow is on the ground, the open sewage ditches are crusted over with ice, and in shantytowns such as the one where Shoaib's family lives, survival turns on a series of cruelly simple calculations.
November 13, 2001 |
TALIBAN TROOPS were reported to have abandoned the Afghan capital of Kabul this morning, following a series of military victories by opposition forces and a withering barrage of airstrikes from U.S. warplanes. As dawn broke, eyewitnesses said the streets of Kabul were largely empty of Taliban soldiers who had been there only hours earlier. A Reuters reporter said fighters of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance - ignoring the wishes of their Western allies - entered Kabul and were roaming through the town center.