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Kabul Diary - 17 August 2009

Amanullah Ghilzai

*Amanullah Ghilzai is Managing Editor of the VOA Pashto Afghan service
 
Day 3 in Afghanistan

Today was the last day for the electoral campaigning in Afghanistan, but in Kabul almost every body was talking about the last night's debate between President Hamid Karzai and two of his opponents in a live TV broadcast. I, and some of our team members went to the Wazir Akbar area of the city and talked to some people there who gave very mixed reaction to the debate. The debate was the headline in all the Afghan newspapers. Later, we met a prominent Afghan analyst Mr. Ahmad Saeedi and get his point of view on the debate and the overall situation in the country. Mr. Saeedi told us that Abdullah Abdullah has emerged as the single most prominent candidate from north of the country and said the competition between Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah would be very tough.

In the evening I, with my colleague Jalil Ghani went to the town center and had a coffee in a newly built shopping mall. Right in the middle of the mall there was an open cafe with many men and women sitting together drinking tea and ice cream. It was interesting for me to see that several women were sitting very relaxed among many men around them. Interestingly, most of the men around us were speaking Pashto language and the almost all the females were speaking Dari. The atmosphere was relaxing and almost every body was smiling, some of them seemed curious about me, probably I was looking too much all around. I saw only one woman without a scarf which is unusual in Kabul. 

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