It was in the firehouse that I first became familiar with the Afghanistan war. I worked as a civilian reporter there at the time of the 9/11 attacks. And I never believed that one of the militants who'd been shooting into its windows the night before, as I was taking photographs, was likely our enemy.

Then, in 2004, an Afghan rebel had gunned down one of the boys who ran the firehouse as it was attacked by the Taliban — a perfect instance of the folly of trying to prevent his actions.

Last week, however, the firehouse again served as a target, and this time it was the Afghan forces who were on the receiving end of fire from Taliban fighters.

The photo showed the bravery of the Afghan soldiers who rushed to the aid of their comrades who'd been trapped in a fire. And the bravery of those who shared it on social media, calling on people to support the Afghan security forces.

But this time, the troops didn't miraculously find a safety valve and come back to help. They rescued themselves.

The astonishing scene, of thousands of Afghans pulling their compatriots out of a blazing building, is playing out all across Afghanistan as ordinary Afghans — the very people whose very survival is at stake — wage war against the Taliban.

Ahead of International Women's Day, Times staff writer Rehema Ellis and photographer Adam Shahmaraam called together Afghan women, who'd been directly impacted by war, to ask them what they think can be done to end the war.