By Kawa Azem
Nadir Khan, Marwa's father.
The heart wrenching cries of a father of two young girls who were forced into marriage with a warlord in Khewa district of Nangahar province, has been echoing in the media and social networking websites for days, wounding the conscience of everyone. This incident had occurred months back but officials in Nangarhar province had threatened and deceived the father to silence this case, like they had in hundreds of other cases of crimes and atrocities committed by local powerful men. The silence of Ghani and Abdullah in the face of this tormenting crime truly shows that not a flicker of human emotion exists in them.
Three months back, in the Kohna Deh village of Khewa district, Khudai Raam, the deputy and ringleader of Gul Karim’s group, forced Nadir Khan’s two daughters into marriage with his brother, threatening them with guns. Marwa’s (Nadir Khan’s elder daughter) aunt who was the eye witness in this painful incident cried and screamed, “As per our tradition, I went with the girl on the wedding night. It was twelve at midnight when they came and told me that the girl is not fine. I was surprised because our girl was pure (virgin) and this was a false accusation. The groom and Khudai Raam had badly beaten the girl to make her confess who she had relations with. The girl screamed and cried that she was innocent but the men refused to believe her. They beat me up too, pulled my hair, tore my cloths and threw me on the ground in the physical attack. I ran away to Qilatak village and took refuge in the Safis’ houses. They then took me back to my home.”
She added, “They tied Marwa’s hands and feet and took her to her father’s house that night. There they also beat up her father and mother and then left.”
Khudai Raam sold timber before the factional infighting (1992-1996). During the dog-eat-dog fighting of the Jehadis, he was a bootlicker of a local warlord named Gul Karim, and was later promoted to become his ringleader and secretary. Now, both are warlords of the area and are busy looting innocent people. The local government is actively assisting him to escape from prosecution in this case. Mukhtar (pseudonym), a resident of the area says, “Khudai Raam called the district office at one that night and asked for two to three Rangers (police cars). Haji Akram, the local police chief, arrived with the cars and surrounded Nadir Khan’s house. They all severely beat up Nadir Khan and his wife and daughter and kidnapped Nadir Khan’s other 10-year-old daughter. The girl’s family first went to the district office but nobody paid attention to their case. They then went to Jalalabad and filed their case with the attorney’s office. The attorney investigating the case was continuously threatened by Gul Karim, Hazrat Ali, and Ahmad Ali (Hazrat Ali’s son).”
Marwa’s aunt says, “When we heard that they had attacked our house again, we hid the little girl in the big clay oven. They shamelessly forced the girl out of the oven and dragged her with them. The girl cried that she will be killed but they had no mercy.”
Hazrat Ali, infamous warlord and criminal of the area.
Marwa left her father’s house out of fear of Gul Karim and Khudai Raam and tried to take refuge in a women’s shelter in Jalalabad but nobody was ready to take her in. The case was silenced this way for three months until Marwa was invited in an event organized by the Women’s Affairs office in Nangarhar on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to talk about the incident. Hanif Gardiwal, deputy of Nangarhar’s governor, was also present in the event. He got very angry after Marwa’s speech and ordered that the girl be silenced immediately. He also threatened the reporters to delete her video. One participant of the event said, “Hanif Gardiwal was very angry and said that his “pants will be pulled” (he will be disgraced) if this becomes news. He ordered that the speech should not be published and the video be deleted.”
Marwa spoke with reporters in the Women’s Affairs office on November 29, 2016 and said, “He (the husband) accused me of not being fine (virgin), and beat me up. They tied me up at twelve at night and took me back to my father’s house. At two the same night, they attacked our home again and took away my little sister with them. We don’t have any money. They have money and power, and you know that in this government everything is controlled by money.”
The locals of Kohna Deh village say that Jehadi commanders commit such crimes every day. Some time back, Haji Akram’s men kidnapped a young girl from Taawarr village. They later paid 200,000 Pakistani Rupees (1900 USD) to the girl’s father and threatened him into silence.
It should be mentioned that Khudai Raam is one of Hazrat Ali’s prominent commanders. Hazrat Ali is a member of Jamiate Islami Party and is supported by CEO Abdullah Abdullah.
The dishonorable crimes of local powerful men who are coddled by officials and given an open hand in their crimes, is the reason for the people’s misfortunes. People who are fed up with these atrocities and oppression and see no other way to get justice, join the Taliban and other terrorist groups.