I know that anyone who isn’t an Afghan is a target while being in Afghanistan. The reasons are obvious:
- Afghans are fiercely concerned about foreign people occupying their land as either military, an NGO, or as another organization
- It’s absolutely understandable why Afghans do NOT want any foreigners living in any form of a large organized community of people in their homeland because that is colonial.
- Afghans have a long national history of foreign armies showing up and occupying their land
- Afghans can be racist like anyone else and will obviously spot and racial profile that foreign person who’s in their country either as a reporter, military personnel or as a tourist.
With this said, I wonder why this married couple, Josh Boyle and Caitlan Coleman (a Canadian husband & American wife) decided it was an awesome idea to actually backpack as White Western tourists in Afghanistan?
That idea was very naive because, of course, they were a foreign people and were an easy target to spot for the Afghans who were Taliban or Haqqani.
The idea of experiencing an exotic country, a beautiful people and delicious food unfortunately ignores the reality of those people you romanticize.
If those people have a long history of being occupied by foreign armies, then pay attention to that fact and don’t gloss it over with your optimism or hope.
I strongly suggest that you cannot make your own race and origin irrelevant to that people so that they will welcome you, and do what you had imagined they would do if you were really an intimate friend or a family member.
Those people are beautiful but you’re not one of them, and are also not a member of their community. So you really can’t transcend your foreigness when the people you want to positively experience have a long history of foreign people showing up and occupying their land.
You ignore the facts about that people and their politics. Pay attention to a society’s politics. 😳
So when Josh Boyle and Caitlan Coleman were kidnapped precisely because they were foreigners (and White Western foreigners) who had backpacked into Afghanistan as tourists, I have a percent of me that isn’t sympathetic:
90 percent of me feels sorry for this married couple while 10 percent of me says:
“You were being stupid. Don’t be stupid. Being stupid gets you kidnapped or killed. And, look, you got yourselves kidnapped.”
Afghanistan is not a tourist destination. I don’t know when it will be a safe tourist destination for anyone who’s a Westerner.
However, Josh & Caitlan and their sons get to experience a happy ending to their kidnapping. They were rescued days ago by Pakistani soldiers. They’re now back in Canada, Smith Falls, Ontario, with his parents. 😃