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Snow brings respite to besieged Kabul

A group of Afghans huddle near a fire at a marketplace in Kabul province, Afghanistan, during a snow flurry on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The country has received little precipitation this winter, normally its wet season, which has concerned Afghans dependent on rain and snow for a bountiful crop.

CHAD GARLAND/STARS AND STRIPES

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 29, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan — Snow dusted Kabul and other areas in white Monday morning for the first time since mid-December, providing a small bright spot as the capital tries to recover from a series of terrorist bombings.

Flurries continued through much of the day, less than a week after President Ashraf Ghani called on Afghans to pray for precipitation. Farmers in the country depend on snowfall in the winter months for a bountiful harvest, but so far there’s been little of it.

Last week, Ghani called on Muslims across Afghanistan to offer prayers for rain, known as the Istisqa, and asked clerics to teach the prayer’s methods and its significance, the local news outlet 1TV reported.

Just days later, Afghans bundled up in scarves and blankets or heavy coats and trudged through mud and snow to markets and homes. In the city’s northern reaches and along the highway to Parwan province, merchants did brisk business as people loaded up on fruits, vegetables and more.

Children played cricket on snow-covered fields or tossed snowballs at one another. Some skipped along or twirled umbrellas as they followed parents on their daily routines.

In Parwan province, where Bagram Air Field is located, there was little snow; instead, a slushy rain fell. Deep puddles dotted the American airbase’s parking lots and roadways.

The snow and rain came as the country reels from a series of bloody attacks, including three in Kabul that claimed at least 150 lives in the past nine days.

In the wake of a suicide attack on Sunday that killed more than 100 people, Ghani declared three days of mourning, which culminate Tuesday in a national day of prayer.

garland.chad@stripes.com
Twitter: @chadgarland

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Two women, bundled up for the cold, cross a road in Kabul on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Snow blanketed the city for only the second time this winter after President Ashraf Ghani called on Muslims to pray for precipitation.
CHAD GARLAND/STARS AND STRIPES

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