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Evening walk in Chaghcharan with my Afghan security guard

Saturday, August 18, 2007 by Marianne Elliott

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He used to be a police officer here in Chaghcharan before leaving the force during the Taleban regime. He then worked as a security guard for the ICRC, UNOPS and then a French organisation that he doesn't name (but he tells me there were seven French women in the office during those times). Now he is one of our security guards. He is older than most of the other guards, and strikes me as both wise and kind. He generously and tolerantly walks with me some evenings so that I can stretch my legs and get out of the compound.

We chat away in Dari, I understand about a quarter of what he is saying but I understand that he has six children and he understands that my father is a farmer. I also understand that he moved to Chaghcharan from a district in Ghor 20 years ago. I notice that although he is Tajik, when he points out to me the village of Pashtun families who migrated here from Wardak 50 years ago he tells me that they are very good people.

At one point on our walk I hesitate at the sight of a group of young men up ahead and ask him if we should go on. He smiles kindly at me and assures me that he will always tell me if anything I want to do is unsafe. He's dressed in civilian clothing and I'm trying to pass myself off as an Afghan woman (although my tendency to pull out my camera every few minutes blows that cover). He tells me not to every worry about security when I'm with him, because I am his sister. I think to myself that he is more like my big, strong Afghan uncle.

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5 Responses to "Evening walk in Chaghcharan with my Afghan security guard"

  1. Alex says:

    I’m glad you have someone taking care of you. I know you’re a tough bright cookie, but it’s nice anyway to know someone cares for your safety and can also actually help you in an unsafe situation. I miss you, linda. Somehow I feel like I remember having these long truthful talks with you… Maybe telepathically, right 🙂 But anyhow… I can’t wait to have a lighter schedule and maybe meet you for some yoga and those overdue heart-to-heart conversations… You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. Be safe xxox

  2. susanna says:

    It’s nice to know you have a kind and understanding Afghani guardian angel by your side these days. What an interesting life you are leading, Frida.

  3. Mardougrrl says:

    I’m just happy that someone is watching out over you. xoxo, M

  4. Mélanie says:

    Your story is always so nice . He is more than your afghan uncle , he is an angel who protects you .
    I love so much this picture , this morning it gives so emotion , to see this strong tank with your silhouettes on it . I wish I could have it framed in my home !!!
    I’m very happy that it takes so much care of you.
    Mélanie

  5. Swirly says:

    I will join the chorus and say I am happy you have to someone to protect you.

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