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A major security concern on this trip was that the wrong people would learn of my identity as a result of enthusiastic telephone calls made by agency employees of clinics in the districts that I had visited. Hence, our return trip to Jalalabad was more dangerous than the trip to the area. In order to reduce chances of a problem on the return trip, we switched cars and changed our departure time. These proved to be good decisions, as we later learned that a bomb exploded near the road on the border between Kunar and Nangarhar Province at the time that we had originally been scheduled to pass that checkpoint. On the return trip, Dr. Akbari, a member of our program evaluation team, spoke emotionally about the importance of the Kunar Clinics.
“Susan,” he said, “The people of Kunar have never had health care like this in their entire history. The work your agency is doing here is very important.”
“I am so happy to hear that,” I replied. “I came here today because I wanted to let the staff in those clinics know how important their work is. What we are doing here is not only helping the people live healthier lives, it is also our weapon against the insurgents who are trying to return this area to chaos and warfare.”
“You are right,” Dr. Akbari said, “The Afghan people want this. They want health care, education, jobs, and peaceful lives. We will prevail.”