Damned Anyway

All Osema wanted was a bag of onions. The soft-spoken former nurse, who had moved to northern Afghanistan from Kabul to flee repressive Taliban rule, was making her first trip to the local market.

Around her face, she wrapped an embroidered green scarf; her lips were painted red. By the time she had passed the turnip and tomato stalls of Yang-e-Qale town, a crowd of jeering men had formed. It was a woman who delivered the first blow, then the men joined in, pelting her with stones. Children finished the job by kicking up swirls of yellow...

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