The recent Taliban attack on Spogmai Restaurant in Qargha has shocked everybody in Kabul. I’ve met a number of people who have lost a friend or relative at the indecent. It’s very sad seeing all these young people dying for no reason. The survivors of the attack have also started to tell the story of that night and how the 12-hour massacre began and ended.
On Friday, Aimal Faizi the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs told the Afghan media that about 10 people were killed in the attack. But later, in a private meeting he told a colleague of mine that there were more than 70 people dead at the scene.
According to one survivor who worked as a waiter in Spogmai, when the seven insurgents arrived at the restaurant, first they killed the guards and then started to beat the waiters and asking them where the private places were. A number of waiters who refused to cooperate were shot right away and the rest cooperated. The insurgents killed every one but kept a kebab maker and his two assistants: they instructed the kebab makers to continue making kebab because they were hungry too. They used to go and shoot for some minutes and then returned and ate some kebab and again taking their riffles they went to kill some more. It was like a picnic or something for them. At the end, they killed the exhausted kebab maker and his assistants as well.
The Taliban says they choose Spogmai as a target because it was a place of alcohol and prostitution. No doubt, there were especial places in the restaurant for private parties; but I’ve never heard from any credible source that there was prostitution going on in the restaurant. About alcohol, they are right, Spogmai served beer!
According to a friend mine who has the experience of drinking beer in Spogmai, when you asked the restaurant waiter if they had beer, the guy would look at you for a minute and then would say “yes, we have!”
The restaurant is run by a Hummer-driving notorious warlord from Sayyaf’s party named Mulla Ezat whose crimes in Civil War are known to everyone in Kabul. He was not in the restaurant that night.