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Urban Desert (standard:drama, 2753 words)
Author: HulseyAdded: Jul 03 2002Views/Reads: 2882/1499Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Helen travels to Kabul to procure her sister's release and encounters the cruel Taliban regime.

After much pleading and a grovelling apology on behalf of my sister to
Mullah Mohammed Omar, I was finally granted access to Kabul. My 
companions were four diplomats who were from various countries. Being 
male, they had an advantage over me in this fearsome part of the world. 

Melanie, my younger sister was the sole reason I was here. My efforts to
talk her out of coming here so soon after the tragic events in New York 
held no credence with her She remained stubborn, unmoved by the obvious 
dangers.  Mel, the angel with a heart of gold was born to be an 
International Aid worker, only this time she had opted for the wrong 
country at the wrong time. 

Confusing accounts of why she and her three colleagues had been arrested
were still to be clarified. Illegally preaching Christianity in a 
devout Muslim country was one of the reasons offered, the other being 
spying, which was much more worrying, as it carried a death sentence. 

I felt most uncomfortable, wearing a black burqa, which covered me from
head to foot, but still hostile stares and strange utterances were 
thrown my way. The heat of the sun pleasantly surprised me, as I 
expected much harsher conditions in October. 

The black-robed Taliban soldiers who were armed with Kalashnikovs did
not fill me with confidence when we approached a shabby, white, stone 
building. The large man with the jet-black beard offered no handshakes, 
and I could not help but notice the attention that he was paying to my 

“Passports,” he grunted. “It was not a request, but an order. He
examined each one carefully, ordering me to lower the veil on my face 
for a moment. A large portrait of Mullah Mohammed Omar adorned the 
soiled, whitewashed wall. The chanting of prayers from somewhere 
outside, and the odour of cooked lamb and spices, made me realise that 
I was a long way from home. 

Our scrutiniser picked up the telephone that looked like it belonged in
another century and dialled. His aggressive tone worried me, as he was 
evidently in conflict with someone. He slammed down the receiver and 
handed us back our passports. 

“You will be escorted to the Pakistani border. You must return home.” 

“Now wait a minute,” intervened Francois, the French representative.
“We've been authorised to see the International Aid workers here in 
Kabul. Here is our documentation." 

He passed over the piece of paper to our host, who promptly tore it up.
“You're in Kabul now. You have been denied extended visas and must 
leave immediately.” 

“I'm not going until I've seen my sister,” I yelled, putting on a sense
of false bravado. 

I was grateful that Blackbeard could not spit bullets as he snarled at
me. “Do you know what happens to women who speak back in this country?” 

I ignored the threat. “I have a letter of authorisation from Mullah
Mohammed Omar. I demand to see my sister.” 

“You demand! You demand nothing!” 

Lanfranco stepped forward. “This is most irregular. I demand to see
someone in authority.” 

The rifle butt slammed against his back made us jump, and we now
realised what a mistake it was to come here. 

“Now no more demands. You will be escorted to the Pakistani border.
Forget your friends; they have committed crimes against Islam and will 
be rightly punished.” 

We realised that something was wrong when a soldier entered the
building, yelling to his superior. The distant humming and then the 

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