‘This was home to Indians…we will be ready in a year’

Kabul blast

The Park Residence: each room destroyed

It took the suicide squad three hours to destroy the Park Residence guest house, home to many Indians stationed in Kabul. In those three hours, two terrorists dragged out guests from rooms, shot them dead from point blank range and threw grenades into each room to ensure destruction.

Today, there is hardly anything left to identify it as the “home of Indians in Kabul” but the owners of the popular guest house, sending out a clear message that they will not be cowed down by such attacks, promise to be back on their feet within a year.

Less than a week after the attack, new plans are already on the drawing board. The owners have decided to pull down the entire gutted structure and build a new guest house. The plan is ambitious but they are determined to ensure the place is up and running in a year.

“How can we shut down? This was the home of Indians in Kabul. We will get back with a new building within a year,” said manager Khalid Essa who survived the attack by jumping over the compound wall after the firing began. Essa and his staff survived but they lost seven guests, including four Indians who were here on official work.

The staff at the guest house — they take pride in the fact that this was “the first hotel in Afghanistan to provide internet connection” to guests — are wary of people taking photographs inside the compound. But the condition of the guest house gives a fair idea of what happened last Friday.

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