Editor’s note: Former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican who represented the Upstate for six terms between 1993 and 2011, visited Afghanistan about a dozen years ago as part of his congressional duties. After the fall of the country this week to the Taliban after a 20-year war, he posted the following on Facebook and gave us permission to republish. We thought you’d appreciate his perspective.
I keep seeing a kite on the roof of our embassy in Kabul and the eyes of an Afghan staff member at an evening event at the rooftop garden. I noticed the kite, and the handsome, young Afghan went to retrieve it for me. As he brought it to me, I asked if he grew up flying kites — as I had seen that day in a neighborhood of Kabul.
“Oh, yes,” he told me in flawless English, “It was lots of fun.”
“And you had contests, flying at each other’s kites, cutting the string?”
“Oh, yeah!” he said.
“Have you seen the movie, The Kite Runner?” I asked him.
Instantly, tears appeared in his 21-year old eyes. “They did terrible things,” he told me. “I was in the stadium when they shot a woman in the head at halftime of the soccer game.”
He told me that the Taliban had locked all the exits. Armed Taliban walked through the stands, requiring everyone to watch what was about to happen. If you tried to look away or close your eyes, you were yelled at. They took the woman — accused of some crime against their code — out to the middle of the field and shot her in the head.
“I went home and locked myself in my room,” the staff member told me. “I wouldn’t talk to anyone, not even my mom. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I cried and cried for days. I was just a boy.”
The next day, the ambassador presented me with a couple of kites. The staff member had gone out to get them for me — to take home to my kids in America.
If he’s lived, that staff member is now 33 or so. I pray that he’s safe. I pray that he’s made it to America. I pray that he’s not among the abandoned.
Bob Inglis is the executive director of republicEn.org, a growing group of conservatives who care about climate change.