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Sat Apr 20, 2019, 03:33 PM

An 11-year-old boy was killed by a speeding car in Kabul. He was also a casualty of war.

Asia & Pacific
An 11-year-old boy was killed by a speeding car in Kabul. He was also a casualty of war.

By Pamela Constable
April 8

KABUL — On one side of a hillside cemetery overlooking the Afghan capital is the blue-domed mausoleum of King Nader Shah, a dynastic ruler who died in 1933. On the other side, up a steep path, is a fresh mound of dirt with a jagged stone at one end — the small, unmarked grave of a child. ... His name was Hamid Tahir. He was 11 years old. He spent three hours a day in third grade and the rest of the time cadging food and money on a street corner. His life was hard, grimy and nearly invisible amid the urban crush of beggars, sidewalk vendors, taxis and security convoys.

He was killed in a traffic accident last month, a small death that was quickly absorbed into the daily fabric of a country overwhelmed by war and poverty. Last year alone, 3,800 civilians were killed in conflict-related violence, including 927 children. More than 110 out of every 1,000 babies did not live to see their first birthday — the highest infant mortality rate in the world.

Hamid, too, was a war casualty. His parents were poor farmers who fled rural fighting between mujahideen and Soviet troops in the 1980s. His father lost a leg to a roadside bombing in Kabul years later; his mother cleaned houses and raised nine children. In a crowded city, filled with jobless people and threatened by insurgents, he helped his family survive by using his wits. ... He was a fixture at a traffic circle in Wazir Akbar Khan, a wealthy neighborhood full of embassies and offices behind security barriers, including mine. Every day from midmorning until long after dark, he was there, perched outside a supermarket and scanning the street for customers while keeping an eye on his little brother Fareed.

Everyone on the circle knew him. They said that he was always playing among the gaggle of hawkers and beggars but that he acted older than his age. “He was mischievous, but when you listened to him, it was not like a child talking,” said a phone-card seller named Mehrabuddin.

Pamela Constable is The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She previously served as a South Asia bureau chief and most recently covered immigration in the Washington area for several years. Follow https://twitter.com/pamconstable1

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Reply An 11-year-old boy was killed by a speeding car in Kabul. He was also a casualty of war. (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Apr 20 OP
Karadeniz Apr 20 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 05:10 PM

1. Life's hard enough without having your homeland torn apart by two superpowers

Invading it. My high school roommate's family lived in Kabul. Back in the sixties, it was safe. I don't know Afghan history, but it didn't take long to change.

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