“Isn’t today’s weather beautiful?” Akram asked as he stood in our office in front of a huge mirror next to my desk.

“Yes, it is nice and warm today,” I replied, though I kept typing.

It was September 15, 2009. Akram is the graphic artist in our community development office, which is funded by USAID—United States Aid for International Development.

Then Mursal, the administrative assistant, entered the room and we all began talking. Our chatter was interrupted by a huge blast near our office. The glass of the mirror shattered and fell all over me and then the back side of the mirror fell on me too. Then there was a second blast, right after the first.

“Oh my God—we’ve been attacked by a suicide bomber,” Mursal shouted. I was scared but I didn’t shout because I didn’t want Mursal to be scared even more. It was Mursal’s first time to experience such a blast, though I had experienced an earlier deadly explosion at the Indian Embassy. Mursal was crying. She and I were sitting on the floor. Akram called to us to come over to his side of the room. Then we heard the alarm sounding, which meant we should move to the security rooms underground.

After two minutes, we came out of the room and saw everything was messed up. The mirrors in all the rooms were all shattered. We were taken quickly to the safe rooms. There, some of my colleagues were injured and were being treated. Someone’s head was cut, or someone’s nose, hands or legs were injured. I heard that one of our clients waiting outside to get in to see us was killed and another injured.

Everyone was trying to call their families, but most could not because the connections were not working well. The security guys came in and said the house next to our office was attacked and that it belonged to a politician. We were asked to wait in the safe rooms until everything was clear, and told that we could then leave for home.

We turned on the TV to check the news. Everyone kept trying to make calls. After an hour, my phone rang and a lady said angrily: “Is this Yagana?”

“Yes!” I said.

“Why aren’t you calling your mom to say you are safe?” she asked. When I explained that I couldn’t call out, she said, “Talk to your mom now!” I talked to my mom and told her I was fine.

Later on, we were asked to collect our belongings and were told that our offices would be closed for a week for repairs. I went to grab my purse and saw the pieces of mirror all over the room, the cabinets broken, the tables overturned. I shut down the computer and left for home.

First, some of my colleagues and I went on the roof to see the situation outside. We saw a man collecting small pieces of bodies. We were a bit scared as we left for home, because they say when a blast happens, there is a possibility of another blast. We saw as we left that windows were broken everywhere. It was quiet, though. We learned later that ten people had been killed in the blast, and more than twenty injured.

“Afghanistan’s situation will not change,” Akram said as we left. “Whoever can get out of the country, should.”

“That isn’t the right decision,” I replied. “We can’t leave our homes, our country. We have to hope that one day things will be fine. Don’t worry. These things are just a part of our lives now.”

By Yagana