The strategy does little to calm jitters in Kabul.
“Despite the checkpoints in the city and high security surrounding high-profile locations, such as the Serena Hotel in Kabul, the suicide bombers are here,” said another Afghan official, who also asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
An Afghan business owner whose livelihood relies on foreigners told The Times that “a lot of business people with money are moving outside of Kabul” and in many cases moving outside “of Afghanistan because they fear more attacks in the city and these attacks can occur at any moment.”
As tension mounted, the poorest of Kabul’s citizens went about their business Tuesday.
Women, many covered in blue burqas and others with only the full head scarf, shuffled about the marketplaces or headed home with children in tow across the rocky streets and broken pavement.
The smell of roasting lamb wafted amid smog-shrouded city streets, where donkey carts carried fruit, children played and beggars took their daily positions.
Many men in the city continued to sport long beards and Taliban-style turbans, while others sought to blend in, shaving off their beards and wearing Western clothes.
“Life goes on, and this is Afghanistan,” said an American woman named Elizabeth, who has worked in the city for more than two years with a private aid organization. “You fall in love with Afghanistan and its people, but you know in your heart it is a place that can take your life from you before you even have a chance to know what’s going on.”