“It’s not enough to talk about peace.
One should believe in it.
And it’s not enough to believe in it.
One should work on it.”
I read this strong message in a local newspaper today. Three days to go, and Afghanistan is going to celebrate the Peace Day in the country. What a beautiful day. Imagine a day without bomb blast, a day without fire and explosion. Peace, in Afghanistan where never-ending wars have crushed the country to its worst, is a dear thing that has been awaited for decades.
UNAMA, the main UN agency in Afghanistan, declared 21 September to be celebrated as Peace Day throughout Afghanistan. They work together with a global campaign group called Peace One Day. The date is to be marked by a countrywide total cessation of violence.
I also cannot wait to see the arrival of peace in Afghanistan. I am tired of news of bomb blasts and fire. I am tired of news of ethnic clash and demonstrations of the discriminated minorities. I am tired reading about anger towards American, Pakistani, and Iranian intervention in Afghanistan. And I am waiting the day where Afghan people only talk about, believe in, and work on peace.
Meanwhile, a visit to the criminal investigation office of police headquarters may sound an irony to the peace day celebration. But Kabul’s police chief on criminal investigation, Alishah Paktiawal, had called media people to come early because he wanted to announce about closure of an illegal security company. They are going to conduct an operation a la Mission Impossible, and want media to cover.
We arrive in Paktiawal’s office as early as 9 a.m. His bodyguards are even still lying lazily in the little dormitory. “Paktiawal is not here. He is in the ministry of interior.”
We have nothing to do but to wait.
Half an hour passed.
Cameraman and reporter from Ariana TV come. They wait together with us in the small waiting room.
Another half an hour passed.
The Ariana reporters feel bored and left.
Another half an hour passed.
I feel bored and fell asleep.
Waiting for Paktiawal is comparable to waiting for the President. We have been waiting for two hours just to see Paktiawal rushed to his huge office.
This office is big, airy, and comfortable. Two rows of comfortable sofas are put on the sides of the office. Paktiawal sits on a small chair in front of his big seat. We were not the only ones who had business with this commander. There were already a dozen of people waiting for him. The general is a big man with aura. He sits with all of his authority. Even if his chair is low and small, he still possesses the charm of being an important man. His moustache matches with his black suits and white shirts. Even his pen is the sacred item that all of people in this room are waiting for. His signature may define the fate of these people. These people come with their best smile and highest level of politeness. Sitting on the sofas, they ask for the health of the commander.
We have to wait all of them finish their business before Paktiawal agreed to talk with the media.
One man comes, give a set of document. Paktiawal looks at a glance, signs the bottom of the paper, and dismisses him.
Another man comes, give a set of document. Paktiawal reads at a glance, shows disapproval, and starts the quarrel. It becomes a harsh discussion as the big commander talks in loud voice while the poor man answers him in quiet replies. The general then threw the paper on aside.
Another man comes, bowing to salute, and submit a set of document. The general disapproval is now even bigger, as this man tried to debate with him. At the end, he closes the discussion by immediately change his speech from Pashtu to Dari and scream, “If you don’t follow my order, I will kidnap your wife!” The man shrunk and left.
One by one they come, one by one they leave. Some leaves with a smile of success, some others leaves with disappointment and question marks.
When all people have gone, the reporters asked the commander to start his speech. But he didn’t. He made us to wait again. He wouldn’t start any press conference if the media is not complete.
We wait again.
It’s like a professor who doesn’t want to start the lecture if the students are not complete. It is like some reporters are escaping from the lecture and we have to call the missing people one by one.
Not before noon, the big general agreed to talk. I have been waiting more than 3 hours. It has broken my waiting record, 3 hours for Karzai in his palace. But well, at least the general announced an interesting case.
A Taliban was captured a day before of trying to install a remote control bomb before the house of head of strategic relations of the Security Council. This old man, complete with his white cap, curly long hair, graying beard, has both hands handcuffed. A pile of money was spread next to him. This is among the evidence. At first I was thinking he was a fake money maker, but then I noticed a helmet-like item with lots of cables and batteries. I just know, it is something called as ‘bomb’. It is something which may claim lives of unlucky human souls.
Peace Day is going to be celebrated in Afghanistan.
And bombers with suicide spirit are still around.