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Letter from Kabul

Despite a spate of deadly attacks on westerners, life in the Afghan capital goes on. But, as I discovered, a visitor quickly learns to stick to their own tribe

By Thierry Kelaart   December 2008

L’Atmosphère is what used to pass for a hot night spot in Kabul. It attracted the war-zone junkie crowd: aid workers, thrill seekers, medics and mercenaries. It was where you went to catch up with journalists; even the odd diplomat popped in for an after-work drink en route back to their armed compounds.

At least that is how it was before a suicide bomber blew himself up in the lobby of Kabul’s Serena Hotel on 14th January 2008. Until then, Taliban attacks were mainly confined to government and army targets. But after that attack the Taliban said its fighters would…

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