KABUL (Reuters) - Ecstatic Afghans danced in the streets and fired rifles into the air on Thursday to celebrate their national cricket team’s first win in their maiden World Cup, a much-needed piece of good news for the country mired in war with Taliban insurgents.
Six people were injured in celebratory gunfire.
In the capital, Kabul, dozens of jubilant Afghans gathered near the cricket stadium after Afghanistan beat Scotland in dramatic one-wicket win in their Pool A clash.
”Today is one the happiest days in my life to see our heroes win their first World Cup match,“ Ahmad Yaseen, a 19-year-old boy said while others shouted “Long live Afghanistan”.
“This means so much for our countrymen who wake up to face bombs, attacks and so many other difficulties.”
With most foreign troops withdrawing at the end of last year, Afghanistan’s war against Taliban and allied insurgents is dragging on. Earlier Thursday, a car bomb killed one person.
In Kabul, cricket fans raced around the city waving Afghan flags from car windows and honking their horns.
Celebratory gunfire wounded six people in the eastern city of Jalabad following the victory, according to Dr. Najib Kamawal, a health official in Nangarhar province.
For most, though, the World Cup win was injury-free.
”I am here to cheer for our victory and forget about the bombs and Taliban for a moment, even though there was an attack in Kabul this morning,” said cricket fan Jalil, who uses just one name like many Afghans.
“I hope that this victory will help unite us.”
Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Toby Chopra