The Worst Job In The World.

by Daniel Russ on September 6, 2013




The numbers of suicide bombings that occur in Afghanistan, and in Kabul in particular are so great that Khwaja Naqib Ahmad has a good job, if not a difficult one. He is the guy who reclaims the bodies and buries them. Suicide bombings in Kabul were unheard of before we invaded Afghanistan. The NYT reports earlier this month about a tiny corner of the war on terror that few think about: cleaning up in the aftermath. Against Muslim tradition, some Aghan Army technicians will stop the interment and examine the body looking for forensic evidence of the source and or identity of the bomber.


What’s remarkable is the amount of concern and the respect Mr. Ahmad has and his humble humanity about his place next to theirs.


“Every single Muslim’s duty is to bury his Muslim brother, no matter how rich he is, poor he is or what social status he comes from,” he said. “To me, my job is important. I don’t care who I am burying. I see no difference between the addict or the bomber.”….

Interred in his graveyard are orphans, homeless people and other nameless victims, who are sent off with a prayer and a tablet-shaped headstone. But increasingly the bodies that turn up here belong to another class of the unwanted: suicide bombers.

Mr. Ahmad has been a municipal government courier for the last five years, responsible for shuttling bodies between the morgue and his sloped and barren plot of rocky soil on the eastern edge of Kabul. It has been a period marked by a steady stream of suicide attacks, which were virtually unheard-of in 2001, when the war began.

The work has grown harder for Mr. Ahmad, exacting as much of an emotional toll as a physical one. He says virtually nothing of his work to strangers, seeking comfort in the Koran. The scent of decomposed flesh lingers on his clothes. In the winter, when the roads are impassable, he hoists the corpses on his shoulders and carries them. The cemetery sits on a slight hill overlooking an emerald lagoon, incongruously beautiful.

“I look at them as humans and treat their bodies with respect because I believe that they were full of hope and life when they were alive,” he said. “I do not think about what they do. I become sad when somebody cuts a tree, let alone when people kill each other.”


Source: NYT.




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