Today, I narrowly missed a suicide attack in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood.
Wazir Akbar Khan is a well-known locality, housing several offices, stores and bungalows. The suicide bomber chose the Finest supermarket to let death loose.
Finest is an upmarket chain that is very popular with westerners because it stocks everything they crave – from a wide selection of coffees to premium cigars and packaged salads.
Its popularity with foreigners seems to be precisely why it became a target.
Just a couple of hours before the attack, two journalist friends and I were parked right outside the supermarket, waiting to pick up another journalist and head for lunch.
The journalist we picked up left as soon as we finished the meal, but frantically called us minutes later with the news. It was surreal to watch on TV flames leaping out of the store and a body in a shroud lying on the road outside.
My mind went back to a post-dinner chat I had with a colleague just a couple of days earlier.
As we were driving on the Airport Road, we kept hitting what seemed like the potholes so common in Mumbai. My colleague turned to me and said: “These craters were caused by suicide attacks. This road is a favourite of the bombers.” I learned later that this was because so many foreigners use this road.
Today, as we drove towards my guesthouse, Kabul seemed to have taken the attack in its stride. There were people chatting on the roads, drinking the light tea that they so love and shopping in the supermarkets that dot the roads.
In Kabul, nothing can stop life from going on.