30 Mar 2014

Inside the Taliban gun battle house

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Najibullah is good enough to show us around the house that is now a total ruin and he gives the sense of man unsure whom he is more angry with – Taliban or government?

“What kind of Muslims are these Taliban? If they want to attack the foreigners why not shoot at soldiers? Why did they come here to do this?”

But he gets a good deal more angry when he surveys the damage and says: “Just look at this! The Taliban didn’t wreck this place. All this damage is from government forces.”

The forces – who over five hours killed the three gunmen here after a large expenditure of ammunition.

Najibullah is warmed up now: “I tell you this- if I don’t get proper compensation for all this we are going to go out and block the Jalalabad Road,” he says, gesturing at the main road out of the capital a short distance away.

Truly the house is wrecked. Every window gone – not just the glass but frames too. Wooden banisters shattered, floors pitted and cracked. Holes in the roof, bullet and rocket damage all over the place.

On the roof terrace you see what the three gunmen came for: the warehouses of the Independent  Election Commission (IEC) just 100 metres away. They had line of sight, cover and elevation.

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Not enough cover of course. In the hall, on a balcony and in the kitchen the bloodstains and pools of gore where all three met their ends yesterday afternoon.

Mercifully for the family  this large house was empty at the time for it is up for rent.

I decided to draw this information back to Najibullah’s attention and he began speaking more about thanking god and rather less about the coming compensation battle.

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2 reader comments

  1. Chris Reid says:

    It was obvious from the start it was a war we could not win. We are now paying the cost in potentially losing our NHS and other major public services to pay for this war. It is a damming endightment of the stupidity of the sheep like politicians who voted for this to go ahead. The cost of this war is estimated at about £2000 per family is a disgrace, If they can find that kind of money to kill people and give foreign aid then they can save the NHS and our public services.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    This is first class reporting at the individual human level. It says more about the reality of Afghanistan than all the Western neocon propaganda combined. Which is of course why it is so rare.

    Thanks for your work.

    It reminded me very much of Muslim East Beirut after the end of the Lebanon Civil War. I was a visitor shortly after the war ended and virtually every building looked like Gruyere cheese. It didn’t need much imagination to think what the same assault did to human tissue.

    The West has a lot to answer for. I hope I am not around when the invoice of history falls due.

    Please keep up the good work. We don’t see enough of it.

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