13 April: Time Magazine publishes an article written by Tim McGirk about the “manic craziness” of Kabul’s nightlife, patronized, according to him, by spies and mercenaries who make an excess of $100,000 to blow on hookers and booze.
You can review the article online, Kabul Nightlife: Thriving in Between Bombs, and read about what a spectacular time everybody used to have.
15 April: Several bars and restaurants popular with foreigners around town are raided by the police. Over 6,000 bottles of alcohol are confiscated. Some of the establishments close. Some reopen dry, some don’t reopen at all. The Minister of the Interior issues warnings to all relevant businesses in Kabul, i.e., bars, restaurants, and hotels, that alcohol is illegal to sell or consume. I hear word from the underground about plainclothes spies strategically placed around town.
Now we’re all under Sharia. Thanks a lot, Tim McGirk.
I had frequented a popular expatriate bar a few times and can testify to witnessing several instances of possible moral decay as suspected by the Afghan government, ranging from bare women’s arms to a lively fistfight, but the government seemed content to leave the foreigners to their own devices before Tim McGirk came along.
Since the ban on alcohol I had been wrapping my headscarf a little bit tighter anyway, which might come in handy since Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi announced a link between the lack of modesty among women and earthquakes some days ago. Now, I’ve never noticed that particular causality, but you never know. Plate tectonics always seemed a little implausible too.