From the steps of the old, blue-domed shrine, if you look past the families feeding pigeons on the plaza below and the lines of clogged traffic beyond, you can glimpse the stark, white stone monument two blocks away, rising from a platform next to the street.

If you approach it, following the garbage-strewn banks of the Kabul River on one side and a row of small shops on the other, you feel a prickle of horror. The railings around the monument are hung with posters of women’s faces — disfigured, half-blind, burned.

People flow past the site, carrying shopping bags, tugging at children, heading somewhere in the city. Some pause to look at the posters, or read the inscription etched in the stone, although most hurry by. On the riverbank below, drug addicts huddle, lost in another world.

A man looks grimly at a photo of Malikzada, part of the monument erected in her memory near the site of her killing. (Pamela Constable /The Washington Post)

But everyone knows what happened here two years ago, in the shadow of the historic Shah-do Shamshira mosque and the adjacent shrine of an ancient Mogul king.


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Featured image courtesy of Getty.