(Day 41 in Kabul)
One unique experience that you will get in Kabul (and in some instances like a colleague of mine in Somalia) is getting personal bodyguards. For us, it is a routine to have guards accompanying us in particularly when we are travelling from the workplace to our hotel or any other place. There is personal armed protection 24 hours and at least one armed guard would travel with us and stand guard near to the place where we are working.
Whilst having a tough armed guard standing next to us makes us feel safe but at the same time, it also makes us feel vulnerable. As what some of the locals said to us that having an armed guard makes people take special notice on the persons being guarded. Certainly a good news for potential kidnappers, bad news for us…haha. So, when we going out for lunch, we usually do not request for an armed guard to travel with us because firstly – of the unusual attraction that we may get and secondly – there is already an armed guard at the restaurant’s entrance.
There is at least 20 armed guards at our workplace at any one point of time (with 2 assigned to check for bombs on the vehicles entering the office compound). After sometime, we became friendly with the guards and managed to get their permission for a photo shoot with us holding an AK-47 assault rifle (with live bullets). The safety button on the AK-47 was switched on and we are taught on how to hold the AK-47 properly (we were not allowed to shoot but if we wanted, we could have arranged for shooting practise but that is another story).
The rifle was heavy but was easy to hold it (hmmm, I could get used to this). Everyone of the team took turn taking photo with the assault rifle with a close guidance from our guards.
It was indeed interesting – something we could not have done in Malaysia!
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