A totally unrepresentative survey, based on discussions with a few people in Kabul, suggests that a lot of Afghans are so pissed off with the insecurity, the lack of jobs and basic services, and the incompetence and corruption of the government that they have simply given up and are trying to leave. Only this afternoon a bloke I'd never met asked me at the bakery, without much ado, if I could get him a visa to the US - or at least a job as my handyman. One taxi driver asked the same thing.
Now I see that the New York Times has picked up on this, too. So I wasn't so far off the mark.
Running Out of Options, Afghans Pay for an Exit
This said, Kabul, if not much else, seems all right. There is still a lot of construction work going on. Security seems to have improved on 2007 and 2008, if only because there are police and army everywhere. Some people even manage to prosper: at the same bakery, I also spoke with a guy who had tried to flee before, was caught in Hungary, spent some time at the Debrecen refugee camp, was released, travelled on to the UK (!) where they eventually deported him back to Afghanistan. He said he didn't want to go again because life was so good in Kabul. And with this he nodded and walked away self-confidently in his ostentatiously good-looking clothes.
A Great Cup of Coffee
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