Op-Ed: Westerners Could Stop Eating Out in Kabul

Will threats from the Taliban cause Westerns to stop enjoying a meal out in Kabul? The Taliban has stated that they will target restaurants that cater to foreigners in the city a day after the deadly attack at the Serena Hotel that claimed eight lives.

Security experts are evaluating whether Westerns should avoid establishments that cater to foreigners. The Taliban has said that they will step up attacks. In the past these threats often failed to come true but the case of suicide bombing has increased during the past two years. Those bombings though have not targeted spots that favored Westerns. That may change with the current threats being issued by the Taliban.

As AP reports:

“We will target all these restaurants in Kabul where foreigners are eating,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press by telephone. “We have jihadists in Kabul right now and soon we will carry out more attacks against military personnel and foreigners.”

Security companies that protect international workers restricted their Western clients movements on Tuesday. Stores and dining establishments that cater to Westerns may soon find their foreign traffic diminishing as those companies work to keep Westerns safe in the war torn city.

Most of these establishments are run by ex-pats do not allow for Afghans to enter because they serve alcohol. Muslims are not allowed to drink in Afghanistan because it is against religious beliefs. These restaurants, often themed for a more Western dining experience rely on word of mouth instead of advertising. The threats will not stop all from enjoying a meal out.

As AP reports:

I will still go out but not as often as before, maybe, and the venue now is more important,” Christoph Klawitter, the head of a German logistics company said. “The Serena was pretty secure, and even there they got in. So I don’t know. The more security, the more likely it is I might go there.”

The Taliban has often used their force of power to change how people move around a city they inhabit. If they are against something they will bomb those places until owners finally give up for safety reasons and close up shop. In Peshawar, Pakistan they have recently used this force of might to stop video stores from operating.

Westerns in the city have joked in the past while eating out that they were targets. At that time though threats have been tossed around they weren’t the focus of the Taliban. Now they are.

All of the attackers to the Serena are either dead or in custody. The police found a video tape of the attackers at a home in Kabul. Two have been arrested. One was killed at the scene in a blaze of gunfire and the fourth blew himself up.

As AP reports:

“I commit this suicide attack for Allah,” the attacker named Farouq said on the video. He was the one believed to have blown himself up during the attack.

Eight foreigners died in the attack at the hotel including Thor Hesla, 45, of Atlanta.

Will the Taliban win this round? Will Westerners back away from areas that hosted them in the past to stay safe? It’s not generally the way of the West. Backing down from a fight isn’t how many react, instead they suit up and have a come and get me attitude. But that is in the West and those not of Kabul and surrounding areas aren’t at home there. So who will be the victors here?

When people lay dead in the street there are no victors, only tears of what should be.

Will Afghanistan ever get back to the place that they “should” be in? Only if toleration can find a foot hole in the ideals of those who do call Kabul home will the people become truly free.

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