The taxi could hold no more. There were about seven of us, packed tightly with our baggage into a beaten up Japanese car, being driven on a cold September afternoon from downtown Kabul to the distant airfield beyond the city’s outskirts. The route wound past squat housing, shops and hoardings, over a dusty road. Soon we were going past dun-coloured hovels and sparse fields on either side with slender trees that had begun to drop their leaves, pulling aside now and then for army jeeps and trucks