Afghan policemen help an injured man at the site of the
explosion. 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
The newlyweds were buried side by side beneath a dried
mulberry tree in a graveyard in the shadow of a mountain in the
south of Kabul.
Hundreds of relatives gathered in silence to pay their
respects to an Afghan couple killed as they celebrated their
love by eating out in a restaurant.
"He was a pure Muslim," said Haji Amin's brother, touching
the hair of the 25-year-old inside his coffin. "He went to
Mecca before his marriage and was advising everyone to do
good deeds. God will never forgive those who killed this
The young couple were among eight Afghans and 13 foreigners
killed at La Taverna du Liban, a Lebanese restaurant in
Kabul's diplomatic district that was attacked by a Taliban
suicide bomber and gunmen.
Among the foreign dead were the restaurant's Lebanese owner,
Kamal Hamade, known to a generation of diplomats, aid workers
and journalists as a figure akin to Humphrey Bogart's shrewd
nightclub owner in "Casablanca" for creating an oasis of
hospitality in a time of war.
Regular customers would be treated to double portions sent to
their tables unrequested, private conversation about the
local security scene, green fresh mint frappes, and slabs of
chocolate cake, on the house, that arrived with the bill.
During crackdowns on alcohol, wine was sometimes hidden in
"Like so many who had the privilege of knowing Kamal, I am
absolutely devastated that he's gone," Soraya Nelson of U.S.
National Public Radio wrote in a tribute. "I will raise a tea
cup filled with red wine to you, habibi (dear friend). You
won't be forgotten."
The restaurant was one of about a dozen places in Kabul that
welcomed both middle-class Kabulis and many of the thousands
of foreigners who have come to work in the capital in the 12
years since the Taliban were pushed from power for harbouring
Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the
This year will be a momentous one for Afghanistan: the
NATO-led military intervention that began in 2001 is coming
to an end. President Hamid Karzai, who has served since then,
is due to step down. The future of the country is in doubt.
Among the United Nations staff killed was chief political
affairs officer Vadim Nazarov, a Russian employee of almost
10 years with a rare understanding of Afghan politics who was
pushing for a peace process with the Taliban.
"Nazarov was murdered ... The irony is that he thought
negotiation with insurgents was the best way," said one of
The 60-year-old Lebanese head of the International Monetary
Fund's mission in Afghanistan, Wabel Abdallah, was also
killed, as was Del Singh, a British Labour party candidate
for the European parliament.
For Kabul's expatriates, life is unlikely to be the same
Strict security measures were immediately laid down for staff
at international organisations. Many were banned from any
movement for social purposes, while restaurants and hotels
were declared off-limits until further assessments had been