As the news circulated yesterday of yet another Taliban bomb attack in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 64 people and injuring more than 300, was reminded of a story I recently came across in a book called The Taliban Shuffle. (now a major motion picture starring Tina Fey) It was about the Kabul Zoo and its most famous resident Marjan the lion. Marjan which means coral or precious stone in Persian, was given to the Kabul Zoo by the Germans along with a lioness called Chucha in 1978 . He was donated in order to quite rumors of a Soviet invasion. Of course within a year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan anyway and like all the other sites in Kabul the zoo also suffered the consequences.
Kabul, Afghanistans capital City was captured in 1992 by Jihadi groups and the Government lost control. As soon as the Russians left Afghanistan warlords moved in and a terrible civil war broke out. They began shelling and sending rockets into Kabul, as a result the walls of the zoo came tumbling down. The medical unit was destroyed making it impossible to treat any of the animals. Disease and hunger spread like wild-fire. Although many of the animals were eaten or died the fledgling zoo somehow remained open.