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Amidst deadly attacks, there is still fun and laughter in Kabul

KABUL:  Amid the almost daily suicide attacks inflicted to them by the Taliban, some Afghan children continued to bring joy and comfort to their countrymen.

To them, there is no other antidote to the despair and sense of helplessness than a few moments of laughter and joy.

“Kabul children have been traumatized by the deadly terror attacks during the last few days. Our aim is to amuse them by watching juggling, tumbling and aerial acts in today’s performance, ” a teenage performer, Bahishta Azizi, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The child performers are members of the Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC), a Kabul-based non-governmental organization.

On wee hours of Friday Aug. 7, a total of 15 civilians were killed and more than 240 others injured when an explosive-laden truck was detonated in Shah Shahid, a populated area in southeastern Kabul. The capital was rocked by three more deadly attacks in the next two days.

Besides leaving huge crater on the street, Friday’s deadly bombing also destroyed hundreds of houses and shops nearby.

At least four women and two children were among those killed while 47 women and 33 children had been wounded by the deadly blast, according to officials.

“The circus is a good entertainment for Afghan children, many of them deprived of a happy childhood,” the 9-year-old Azizi said.

Azizi said that some children and youths in Afghanistan do not have access to education and safe environment. “The circus can offer them a respite from their suffering. At least for a few moments, they can laugh and be amused,” she said.

In their show, the talented children, in colorful cloths, did acrobatics, juggled pink wooden plates, rode in monocycles, and belted out Afghan songs and music. There were also clowns who entertained the crowd with their antics.

The ensemble, composed of dozens of teenagers, including girls, was greeted by loud applause from the audience after each performance on the stage held at MMCC Center in western Kabul.

Afghanistan has been the scene of increasing militancy since the death of Taliban former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was confirmed and the takeover of the Taliban by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor on July 30.

The Afghan civilians often bear the brunt of war as 1,592 civilians had been killed while 3,329 others injured in the first six months of this year, a report of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released here earlier this month said.

Out of total casualties, some 320 killed were children while other 950 teenagers were wounded by conflicts over the period, according to the report.

“The latest tragic incident in Kabul on midnight of Friday reminds us that families and children continue to suffer in the ongoing conflict in the country which they have nothing to do,” Hamid, a teacher with circus, said.

According to Hamid, the MMCC gave its first performance in Kabul on June 2002, the International Drug Abuse Day.

“We mostly enroll vulnerable children to MMCC. We found that the circus has created physical as well as psychological changes among both performers and viewers. More than 3 million children had benefited from MMCC services over the past 13 years,” he said.

The country has some 12 million school age children but some 1. 7 million children in school age are deprived of education due the conflict and poverty, according to officials.

“I am very happy. I hope my show and our performance make my peers feel happy too. The MMCC is a great place to find talented kids,” Sayyed Wasim, an 11-year-old performer, said.

Mumir Ahmad, 15, one of the spectators, said that he enjoyed the performance very much. “It is as if everything is normal when you watch the performers,” he said.—(Xinhua)

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