02 August, 2021

Badland Roses

Four Indian women brave Kabul's perils to help in reconstruction

Badland Roses
Vrinda Dar wanted a "regular" job after a career spent mostly freelancing. "Time to do something settled," she thought. So she accepted an offer from an international NGO to work in Kabul. Not many people would consider a posting in war-torn Afghanistan, separated from one's family, a settling experience. But then Vrinda is not usual. She is among a small group of remarkable Indian women contributing in different ways to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Their experiences are far from ordinary—as foreigners they face huge security restrictions, as women they combat social conservatism—but as Indians, they benefit from a special regard on the part of Afghans.

Working in Afghanistan is not a job for the faint-hearted. While south Afghanistan is in the throes of a conventional military battle, Kabul frequently experiences rocket attacks and suicide bombings in public places. International workers have been kidnapped in broad daylight. In May last year, anti-foreigner riots raged through the city. Several offices and guesthouses where...

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