It was an unexpected meeting. The man presents himself as the uncle of a patient, a child. He has a question, he says. I guess you want help escaping abroad. Instead he asks if there is any organization left that deals with animals. Which? Livestock, poultry? No, dogs. I think of stray dogs: in the city they are seen in packs, in delimited territories. During the day they sleep lazy among cars and people, at night they wander in the empty streets.
At home, no one keeps pet dogs here, only guard dogs, treating them well but keeping them at a distance, as they are considered unclean. It’s not for street dogs, he says, but for his, fighting dogs. It has two.
Diary from Kabul. The dignity of those who have lost everything
by Alberto Cairo
The Taliban forbid animal fights, he explains, and he is now without income. I never thought it was a full-time job, one that gave a living. In Kabul, fights between roosters and partridges are common, but the most followed are those between dogs, in the Campanì district. They gather large crowds. The Taliban prohibit them not because they are against violence, let alone, but because they are linked to gambling and gambling. I went to Campanì only once (I swear). Because a foreigner I was invited to the front row and could see better. I was struck by the horrifying excitement of the spectators, the fury of the animals and the careful care of the owners, ready to separate them to avoid serious injuries. The man shows me the photos: they are Molosser, the size of a calf. He won’t ask me to take them home, I hope. I would be afraid. And how could I with cats and turtles? Or here at the clinic.
Diary from Kabul. A stone wall against homosexuals
by Alberto Cairo
In the past we had dogs that roamed free at night. They began to attack those who went to the bathrooms, preferring patients of Pashtun ethnicity. We then understood that he was tied to the turban he wore: who knows what it recalled to them. He comes to the point: without fighting he will soon not be able to feed them properly, he would like the organizations to supply them with special food. It is incredible how much the arrival of the Taliban has disrupted the life of Afghans in every aspect, including leisure, with express prohibitions or provoking preventive self-censorship in many. The edicts will come, only a matter of time, they say, better not to risk it. I ask him why he is addressing me. He replies that he understood he could from the way he saw me playing with the cat. This then! I promise to inform me. In the meantime, I offer the leftovers from our kitchen. I don’t know his dogs’ diet, but it can help. He reassures me that it is for a short time, he plans to send them to the village. It will be easier there. His heart squeezes at the thought of separation, he says. I keep silent that I am happy with the prohibition.
Alberto Cairo is in charge of the Physical Rehabilitation Program of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan