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The positive stories Afghanistan needs

Amid the hard times my country is going through, I have left behind despair and embraced hope.

These days, Afghanistan makes international headlines more and more rarely and when it does, it is always about yet another tragedy. A humanitarian crisis, an earthquake, a deadly attack, a drought, expelled and suffering refugees.

I used to work for Daily Outlook Afghanistan, the first English-language media outlet in the country. In our small newsroom, we recognised the negative psychological impact that the constant stream of bad news had. So we set out to look for positive stories to print side-by-side with our regular coverage and try to counter this decades-old tendency to paint Afghanistan in all-dark colours.

Daily Outlook Afghanistan is no more. The newspaper, like many other media outlets, had to shut down shortly after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 2021. Most of my colleagues fled to neighbouring Iran and Pakistan; one of them, Alireza Ahmadi, tragically died in the bombing of Kabul airport on August 26 that year. So now there are even fewer journalists in the world looking for the positive Afghan story.

I, myself, fell into the dark trap of fatalism. From a writer, who always viewed and analysed political issues from the positive side and tried to give hope to the readers amid two decades of war and violence, I turned into a man full of chagrin. Life became extremely hard overnight. I was unemployed, struggling to provide for my family. Everything seemed meaningless to me.

I often heard complaints from female relatives about their struggles under the Taliban regime and the ban on secondary and university education. This saddened me and just added to my anguish.

As the months passed, I slowly started to realise