It was a story I thought I knew. I picked it up and began reading, interested in learning more about the Americans I had heard about in the news and recalled praying for almost a decade ago. Heather and Dayna were two American women taken prisoner along with their fellow aid workers from Germany and Australia as well as sixteen Muslim Afghan workers.
Kabul24 is the story of eight westerners taken captive by the Taliban just a few days before 9/11. The punishment for the crime they were accused of was expulsion from the country. Instead they were held for months in some of the worst conditions imaginable, shipped from location to location by Muslim extremists, without ever having a trial.
These westerners were not newcomers to Afghanistan, their relief organization (SNI) had been instrumental in Afghanistan for many years, while the workers blended themselves into the culture of Muslim Afghanistan. Hearing what life is like under the Sharia Law, the strictness, the burkas and the allegiance to the Koran, I read a story I did not know. The story I thought I knew, one of Americans arrested for proselytizing, the story widespread in 2001, was much different.
I thought it was so significant to read about the friendships that they eight workers had with their fellow Muslim inmates while in prison and of the beatings and tortures the Afghan SNI workers underwent to convince them to testify against the westerners. The sixteen Afghan held strong in spite of persecution, imprisonment and torture and never betrayed their fellow SNI workers. It is a captivating story of Muslim and Christian friendship and allegiance.
As we all learned in the news, the eight aid workers were eventually freed (by Muslims) and rescued from Afghanistan.
Considering the recent news coverage on Afghanistan, I appreciated learning more about Sharia Law and the beliefs of the Taliban, something I was not very familiar with previously. I find myself thinking more about the plight of Afghanistan now and wondering how the 24 SNI workers fare these days.