It was the night before Eid Al Adha and Kabul’s streets and markets were crowded well past midnight. Families were out shopping, young boys and girls thronged the colourfully lit streets, and there was anticipation in the air as Kabulis looked forward to celebrating the festival after weeks of mourning for victims of recent militant attacksthe Afghan capital.
However, what no one expected was to see a commercial airliner rolling through central Kabul that night. In a city living constantly on the edge of fear, panic ensued, with Afghan social media users assuming the worst.
“Emergency landing in street in Kabul nearly a km away from #KabulAirport,” one user tweeted.
The rumours quickly escalated from stories of a crash landing to an unauthorised return by vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been in Turkey since May after being accused of detaining and torturing a political rival. A plane believed to be carrying Mr Dostum had been refused permission to land in the city Mazar-i-Sharif in July.
However, the truth turned out be a pleasant surprise. The private airline Kam Air cleared the air the next morning when it announced that the mystery plane was in fact a decommissioned aircraft on its way to be installed in Kabul’s only amusement park, Park Shahr.