It’s early morning to the west of Bamiyan in the highlands of central Afghanistan. There is fresh snow on the mountains, and a crowd is huddled together in the cold air. A couple of pickups are mounted with heavy machine guns, and uniformed men hover, clutching their rifles. We are waiting.
A whistle is blown, the pickups set off, and the crowd scatters. We all run.
Sometime around 2003, I received an invitation to visit Afghanistan – I’m still not sure how it reached me, but supposedly it was from the Minister of Tourism. I didn’t go, and over the subsequent years, I assumed it would never happen. Too far, too difficult, too dangerous. Always somewhere else to travel instead. But in late 2015, a few clicks on the internet led me to talk of a ‘Marathon of Afghanistan’ – the first ever attempt to stage such a thing in such a place…
This story is featured in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe (free to all members).