There were no scenes of spontaneous celebrations in Kabul on May 2, as news of the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden spread among residents of the Afghan capital. Rather than fostering feelings of vindication or satisfaction, bin Laden’s demise filled many Afghans with a sense of unease, amid a sprinkling of conspiracy theories.
Afghans had lots of questions relating to the sudden turn of events for which there are no immediate answers: Will bin Laden’s death provide the US military with cover to accelerate the pace of its withdrawal from Afghanistan? Will the international community turn away from the nation once more, as it did after Soviet forces withdrew in 1989? And will al Qaeda retaliate?
“I don’t know what I feel,” said Ahmed, a young waiter at a glitzy Kabul restaurant frequented by internationals and well-heeled Afghans. “What do you think about it? Is it good or bad?”
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Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul.