By Kreshma Fakhri
Thirty-two years ago Zubaida watched her husband being taken away by Soviet soldiers. No one has ever talked to her about what happened that day. A testimony*
"It was the 2nd Sawr in 1359 (April 21, 1980). My husband was visiting us in Jaghatoo district, Ghazni. A year before the communist government of Babrak Karmal had won power with the help of Russians (Soviet Union). Many Afghans were angry. We were drawn into a fight between Jihad (US-supported mujahedin) and atheism (government).
Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan.
Sayed Jagran was the commander of the anti-government forces in Jaghtoo district. In my village, Qala Mullah, he was carrying out propaganda against the government. But few people had the time for him. Most people were working on Bande Sardeh (a dam 28 kms away in south Ghazni). My husband Mohammad Ismail was one of those who would come home on Thursday after a week of hard work, and return early in the morning on Saturday.
One Thursday he came back and never went back to Bande Sardeh. Russian soldiers swarmed Qala Mullah. The anti-government forces had already left the area. Only defenceless people remained. 'Come out of your houses,' the Russians shouted. We trooped into a compound. My husband was the first person they led away. My six children and I tried to stop them. He was taken to Qala Qata. They took him to the centre of the village and shot him for siding with the opposition. They had no pity on anyone. They went from house-to-house killing all the men. They killed 21 of my relatives. Except for one farmer who escaped there was no male left to bury the dead. We took the bodies in a wheelbarrow, and buried them in a pit. I tied a piece of red cloth on a pole on the top of our house so the Russians would not bomb us."
** The testimonies of survivors of war crimes are our contribution to creating greater public awareness about people's hopes and claims for justice, reconciliation and peace. These life stories are distributed internationally by the news agency IPS-Inter Press Service and are the basis for a radio drama that is being broadcast by seven Killid radios.