It is as if there is no COVID-19 in Kabul, no vaccination, no restriction and a masked person would not stir surprise in Afghan citizens.
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Turkey’s Hurriyat daily has provided a report on the life of the people in Afghanistan following topple of the former government and Taliban takeover.
Life in Afghanistan is as if there has been no coronavirus pandemic .No one wears a mask. When one wears one, the people look dazzled. What about vaccination? There is no vaccine either. Limited number of vaccines supplied from India during the former government was injected by ex-officials and healthcare workers. Ordinary people have received no vaccine.
They have eliminated the coronavirus pandemic from the agenda claiming that 80 per cent of the people in Kabul have been infected with COVID-19 and community immunity has been achieved. Although nobody cares, there is no regulation, no prohibition and no protective measure against COVID-19.
Restaurants in main streets and local fast foods in Kabul, an imitation of the famous brands, are all open. Main streets gleam in lights at evenings. Servants shout out cries to attract customers. Sidewalks smell of Kebob smoke and no sanitary measure is maintained. They would welcome you as a close relative dropping by for dinner and not an ordinary customer. We entered a restaurant and sat cross-legged on traditional wooden beds and ordered the famous Afghan cuisine cooked with lamb meet.
All beauty salons in Kabul have shut their doors following Taliban takeover. Women’s hair salons can stay open under the special condition that they cover the interior from those outside and only women serve female customers.
We went to a men’s barber shop in Kabul and demanded our beard to be shaved. Does Taliban permit men to shave beard? The barber says Taliban does not trouble the foreigners and Afghan customers trim their hair and beard but do not shave.
There is no foreigner tourist in Kabul main bazaar. Merchants who trade with tourists are complaining. A merchant we talked to said,” I’ll be pleased if you buy hat and scarf for the talk we had.” We did so. The traditional Afghan hat I bought is called Pakol and we paid with Afghani and it cost 860 Afghani, around 94 Turkey Lira.
There is a hill in Kabul “Wazir Akbar Khan” where the families, young couples, brides and grooms spend their time there for site seeing and taking photos. The hill is under Taliban control at present. We visited the site with and official permission. We saw armed Taliban militants guarding the hill. We could have a unique view of the city from the hill top only after we submitted our permission.
Both armed and unarmed groups affiliated with Taliban are wandering around the hill. Some Taliban members spend long hours watching the city from the hill top. Surprisingly enough several members of Taliban spoke non-fluent Turkish. Hearing Adhan, Taliban stopped watching the city and began prayers in small groups across the hill.
August and September are the months for wedding ceremonies. It is to the point that August is also called the “Wedding Month.” Taliban takeover has not brought any problem for the wedding ceremonies. Weddings which had been planned before have not been postponed. Weddings continue despite Taliban takeover and men and women participants sit in different halls as they did before Taliban took control. There is still one difference: Weddings used to include music, dance and local games while the ceremonies under Taliban do not permit any amusement or music.
Music has been banned in weddings following Taliban empowerment. In a ceremony where men and women even the bride and groom are separated, the wedding includes dinner, wedding prayer and exchange of wedding gifts. The only amusement in these weddings is the firework with which Taliban has not objected yet. The firework which usually begin at 6:00 and end at 21:00 with dinner, bring a little light to Kabul.