Psychology student Abdul Sami, 20, said that the real message the insurgents wanted to send was very clear: “The Taliban want to show their power, their strength, and that they can attack anywhere they want to.”
Law student Sahar Yaser, 23, in her final year at the university, said that women were especially shocked by the incident because the area was one of the few where families felt they could visit with some degree of safety.
“I was one of the people who used to go to the lake, but now families will not dare go there,” she said.
Asked about claims by Afghan and coalition officials that security – and the quality of Afghan security forces – is improving, she said: “I don’t believe them at all. In the presence of armed forces from many NATO countries, security is bad, and it will only get worse when they leave.”
Yaser said she was worried that, after 2014, a civil war could restart like the one in the 1990s, which broke out after a Soviet-backed regime in Kabul collapsed in 1992. The instability that resulted from fighting among various factions was one of the main factors in the rise to power of the Taliban.
Nineteen-year-old psychology student Faiz Mohammad said that “as things stand, it’s obvious that security will deteriorate” after foreign troops leave. “I don’t believe what the international forces or the Afghan government say about having improved our country’s security,” he said.
Kabul, the capital, was supposed to be one of the most secure provinces, “yet even the districts of Kabul are not safe,” he added.
Sonia, a 21-year-old journalism student who only had one name, said that Afghans were capable of defeating the Taliban-led insurgency but couldn’t do it without honest leadership from their government.
“The Afghan government is hugely corrupt, and because of its corruption it has no legitimacy,” Sonia said, arguing that 90 percent of Afghans did not trust the Karzai administration.
“The Afghan government does not care about us – about the young generation that is educated. So imagine how little they care about those people who are poor and uneducated,” she said.