I like many expats have dined in the Taverna du Liban in Kabul, a mini haven of normality in the midst of so much confusion. You can read the reviews on Trip Advisor.
I remember going there with the ORA team in Kabul, and on many other occasions. Good food, good company, good atmosphere....
So it was a with a real sense of shock that we heard of the suicide bombing and the death of 21 at the restaurant. BBC's Lyse Douset also wrote a piece about Kamal, the cafe owner who died trying to defend his restaurant.
An Afghan friend of mine, now living in the US wrote the following on Facbook - he used to be involved in running a coffee shop in Kabul himself .....
I stumbled across a tweet seconds after the cowardly attack on Taverna Du Liban restaurant this morning (night time in Kabul). My millisecond instinct reaction has taken me to ‘chaila’ days – fears like today (of what happened at Taverna) has robbed many nights with the question, threat and fear hanging on the back of my mind “what if they…”
As I was thinking about the horror of today’s atrocity, it took me back to the time we’ve decided for ‘chaila’ to remain in people’s memory than a physical reality.
Call it downheartedness of today’s event or nostalgia (already) of good ol' days, Taverna was a beautiful corner of Kabul with incredible hospitality and food. Last time I arrived to pick up a food order, I was early. I parked the car on the opposite corner of the restaurant and turned the car off to take a short nap (it was late evening). I opened my eyes with the sound of a knock-knock on the window - the guard asked if I was waiting for a guest inside to which I replied “no”. “I am here”, I said, “to pick up my order and I’m 30 minutes early”. “Go check inside… they might have it ready for you!” said the guard. I went inside paid the bill and while waiting for the food to come, Kamal brought me a glass of fresh pomegranate juice -- “Drink this while you are waiting, Sedi’i” and we both sat and chatted.
Once again, I’m speechless of what humans are capable of doing in the name of God.
A few days ago, I read a poem which resonates with what has happened today. It loosely translates to:
“They search for You in hundreds of colours
And in deceit and cunning
They seek You with spears in wars
In this place, they are looking for You in a rock
You give life, but here…
They take lives and call it your dictum!”