BBC Persian, January 19, 2021
Violence in Afghanistan: Death of 18 family members and burial of three Children in one grave
The results of a recent study show that in 2019 alone, 700 civilians were killed in airstrikes by US and Afghan forces
By Sahar Rahimi
What does the dead of mother, father, three children, seven sisters, one brother and four sister’s children do to a person?
Noor Ali, lost 18 members of his family all at once in bombing raid by government forces in Khashrud district of Nimroz province. Among the victims there were children aged three months to then years old.On Saturday midnight (January 9, 2021), to target Taliban, Afghan security forces bombed two houses at the village of Manzari but 18 civilians, all members of one family were killed.
After the incident government announced that 13 members of the “Taliban Red Unit” were killed in the airstrike, two were wounded and two members of Taliban were arrested for extortion.
Two days later, President Ghani issued a statement regretting the killing of civilians in the incident, saying that Taliban are using people as human shields. But what is the fate of the survivors of the attack?
Two-month –old baby among the victims
Around twelve o’clock, the villagers are asleep. Noor Ali’s family of 20 also went to bed and fell asleep with the hope of a brighter tomorrow. Who knows what the children were dreaming about when the nightmare of the bombing landed them in eternal sleep. They never woke up again.
Noor Ali 30 years old and his brother Matiullah 20 years old are the only survivals of the attack on their house in Khashrud district.Noor Ali with his wife and children lived in a small house in Manzari village of Khashrud district. His mother, father, five sisters and one brother also lived next to their house.
On the night of the incident, two married sisters of Noor Ali with their children including a two months old niece came to a party at their father’s house. All 20 people gathered at night, laughed and fall asleep a few moments before the bombing.
What Noor Ali remember from that dark night is the voices of drone “twice the planes flew over our house and in third time they fired.
Everything is lost we need help
The bombing does not allow, an opportunity to escape, time to save yourself, time to shout or chance to say goodbye, the house collapsed in the blink of an eye on the family.
After the bombardment the whole village was covered with darkness and absolute silence. The fear of the next attack made the other neighbors silent: for the fear of bombing again, all the people in their homes were silent even the oil lamps were turned off.40 minutes after the bombing of Noor Ali’s house, the neighbors came to save him and his family, but what they faced there was no home but rubble. Despite the wounds sustained by Noor Ali and his brother, no one was able to transport them to the hospital for fear of being bombed.‘One of the neighbors took me and my brother to their home, the weather was cold and there was no facilities. We waited all night and we were taken to the hospital in the morning’.Noor Ali’s arms and legs remind motionless till morning and Matiullah obeyed hardly. The face of the victims were difficult to recognize. Noor Ail, he still remembers his two young sons and daughter who were suffocated under the rubble.Noor Ali is an ordinary farmer. With great difficulty he was able to build a small house in the village for himself and family.
“It was very difficult for us to build a house it took a long time for us to be able to build this poor life.”The grief of losing a family on the one hand, the pain of helplessness on the other hand ‘Everything is lost, we need help’
Three child in one grave
The victims were buried in a ceremony 5km from the village; but three children in one grave.Noor Ali says that his three nieces were so injured that their limbs were stuck together and could not be separated: “Mullah said to be buried together” The thought that he did not see the image of horror and fear in the eyes of his children before death calms Noor Ali’s heart. Their deaths are summed up in the same way that they fell asleep and never woke up.Words cannot describe Noor Ali’s grief “when it’s bombed and you lose your family…. It’s very hard…”Noor Ali says this was the first time their small village had witnessed such an attack.
‘I will never forget the fear in my children’s eyes’Mohamad Awaz, Noor Ali’s cousin also lives in Khashrud district, 4km from Noor Ali’s house.He remembered the horror of that night, the sound of bombs shaking their little house.He says the planes were flying in the village sky for hours and people were frightened.Mohamad Awaz and his family stayed up until dawn. He says he will never forget the fear he saw in his children’s eyes that night.“I went to my uncle’s house after the morning prayer. Everyone was dead. Noor Ali and Matiullah were injured, we took them to the hospital.
Increased government airstrikes and civilian deathsA recent study by Brown University in the United States on civilian casualties as a result of airstrikes in Afghanistan showed that the number of Afghan civilian casualties in the past three years has more than tripled compared to previous years.
The results of a recent study show that in 2019 alone, 700 civilians were killed in airstrikes by US and Afghan forces. This is said to be the highest number of civilian casualties since the US invasion of Afghanistan.
According to the study, the Afghan army has recently increased its airstrikes several times, resulting in more civilian casualties than ever before.
The study found that in the first six months of this year (2020), at least 86 civilians were killed in airstrikes by the Afghan Air Force and 103 others were wounded, but in the third quarter of this year, at the same time as peace talks continued, 70 civilians were killed in airstrikes. Another 90 people were injured.
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