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9/11: A Year After / WHO WE ARE NOW

Karima Amiri

September 11, 2002

Karima Amiri, 37, is a typist for Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Industry, a job she regained after the departure of the Taliban. She lives in Kabul with her husband and five children, four of whom are girls.

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"We were sitting at home one night when we heard about the event. My husband called to me to say the tower was on fire.

Of course we in Afghanistan have a lot of experience with such terrible things, but it was the first time it had happened in the United States. Later, when it was clear that Al Qaeda was behind the bombing, we knew something would happen in Afghanistan because Al Qaeda and the Taliban were here.

Once the Americans started bombing Kabul in October, we decided to leave for Pakistan because my husband has a heart condition and he couldn't sleep. We had to sell all we had at a very low price to the secondhand seller, but we did it eagerly to have our bus fare to Pakistan. And we still had to walk part of the way through the mountains to the border. We came back in February.

It brought big changes in our lives, a great number of changes. Under the Taliban, women did not work, I couldn't go to the office, and I lost my job. My husband also lost his job as a mechanical engineer for the city because he was on the Taliban's "unwanted" list, which is where they put you as a pretense if they had a friend they wanted to replace you with. Now I have just got my job back, although my husband still does not have his.

I make a little extra money doing embroidery, but under the Taliban I couldn't take my products to market because they would have beaten me for talking to strangers. I was traumatized by that. But now I am optimistic and feel very happy inside, and I am looking forward to a glorious future."

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As told to Chris Kraul

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