2023 started with a bang, a literal bang. I arrived at the airport in Kabul, a tremble felt right under my feet. It was the 1st of January 2023, New Year’s Day in most parts of the world. Fireworks! I thought almost immediately. A suicide bomber had detonated himself at the entrance to the airport, murdering both military and common people alike. Welcome to Afghanistan I thought.
I was conscious I was a lone woman in the company of a lot of men with extreme views. Afghanistan is now governed by the Taliban and has been for just over a year. Education for girls had been banned. It had just been decreed that local women were forbidden to work for NGOs resulting in a mass exodus of organisations and who were here to help. Sharia law was supposedly in play and public flogging and executions were rumoured to have been reintroduced.
However I was here to learn and I had to scrub all that preconception off of my mind. A fresh slate that was untainted by propaganda. That’s what I had to embrace. I wanted to learn the truth from my own eyes and my own experiences, even though a clear version of the truth has already been adopted by most of the western world.