RAWA report, December 20, 2001

The Heartbreaking Story of an Afghan Woman

By A RAWA supporter from Kabul

On November 7, 2001 around 10 o'clock, on the road to the Pol-Kheshty mosque (Brick-Bridge-Mosque), in Kabul, a few women were sitting together, selling some old items of their household and some embroidered table cloths ornamented with flower designs.

I nodded to one of them and we said hello. She was covering her head and her body in a veil. In front of her she had a few very old articles like tablecloths, old handkerchiefs with flower designs, some plastic plates, a pressure cooker, and a few Russian teacups that she was trying to sell.

Suddenly at this moment, we saw a traffic police, who was waving a stick, crossing the street and coming towards us. He raised his voice, intimidating this woman; "Hey you, didn't I tell you to get lost and don't sit here? Didn't I tell you to go sit somewhere else?" And then he kicked and scattered the household items she was trying to sell. She was helpless, crying and pleading, but he was indifferent. Finally, she collected her things and took them to a secluded corner, away from the main street. She needed help, so I helped her, picking up some of her stuff and taking them to her spot. She thanked me several times and said "May peace be with you, dear sister, these tyrants torment me every day, I can't plead for justice to any one except to God.

I asked her; dear sister, don't you have a husband or grown up kids? She answered, "If I had grown up kids, or a husband, I wouldn't be helpless like this". I asked, did your husband get killed or is it that you never married? The poor woman sighed deeply, paused, and then said, "That is a long story. Why should you share my sorrows?"

I told her, "take me as your brother, or your confidante and tell me about yourself ". I had a feeling that she was quite smart and literate, and that she must have had some formal education.

I asked her; did you ever go to school? Can you read and write? She said, "You are so persistently asking these questions.

All right then, sit here by me and let me tell you about myself and about what makes my heart ache".

So I sat next to her and listened. She said, "I don't know where to start". She sighed again, got emotional and could not talk for a few seconds, as though she was going to burst into cry. She then said; "My name is Nasima. I was born in Chahar-assiab district in Kabul. When I was two years old, my father rented a house in Deh-Bouri area and started working as a laborer in a Silo (biggest government bakery in Kabul). Life was not easy for us. I had three brothers and we were two sisters. Two of my brothers were older than me. When Russians were in Afghanistan, during the time of Najeeb, they took my oldest brother to military service. He had finished high school. In 1989, he was martyred, in Khost by the Mojahedeen."

"Before government recruiters would come to take my second brother to the army as a soldier, he fled to Paghman and joined Mojahedeen to fight against the Russians and their puppets."

I was in primary school and so was my younger sister. My father was working in the silo as a laborer. With his salary and rationed food coupons, we survived.

"It was later, in 1991, that my second brother was captured, among other soldiers, by Glim-Jam troops of Gen. Dostum, in Paghman. He was martyred. They delivered his body to our house. I was in eleventh grade in Rabeeh Kalkhi high school.

My father could not cope with the loss of his two young sons. He was getting older, fast. His beard was turning white. He fell very sick and was hospitalized in Ali-abad hospital. A few days later he died.

We were now my mother and three kids; my youngest brother, my younger sister, and myself.

We did not know what to do at this point. To make the story short, my mother started working, cleaning other people's houses.

And I stayed home, sewing garments and dresses. My mother and I were earning barely enough to survive. My brother was working in a workshop, as a trainee, for half a day and was going to school in the afternoons. So did my younger sister, half a day to school and sewing in the afternoons.

Eventually, there was a man, who was working in the Ministry of Economy, who expressed his desire to marry me. My mother agreed and I married him in 1992.

My husband was not financially well off either. We lived in the Qole-abchakan district in Kabul. Later the next year, my sister got married too. God gave me two daughters.

In the year 1995, fierce fights broke out between the fighters of Wahdat Party [a pro-Iran fundamentalist criminal band] and the Abdul Rasul Sayyaf's forces [a brutal fundamentalist party supported by Saudi Arabia]. This was a battle between power-hungry opportunist butchers. A misguided rocket hit the house where my mother and sister were living. My mother and youngest brother were killed. We didn't even see their bodies; Wahdat Party was controlling that area and no one dared to go to that area because they were killing anyone belonging to Tajik and Pushtoon tribes.

Loosing my mother and youngest brother was yet another painful, everlasting, wound of loss.

In the last days of August 1996, Taliban were fighting to take over Kabul. They captured hills to the north of the city. From these hills they launched rockets, many of which missed their targets and hit the civilians. One of their targets was the television tower.

One day, at 6'o'clock in the morning, a rocket launched for the television tower was misguided. In our house, in the Qole-Abchakan district, we heard an incredible explosion. Dust and smoke filled the entire area. So dense that we could not see anything and we could hardly breath. I was in the basement preparing tea for the morning. The explosion wave pushed me to the floor. After a few frightening moments, I could get up and rush out of the basement. I then headed for the main door to the street. These same eyes that have witnessed blood, murder and death were now witnessing my husband soaked in his blood. Most of his chest and most of his belly were gone and one could see gaping holes instead. I called his name several times "Qudrat, Qudrat", each time louder and louder, but he was not moving.

Screaming, I called to God: "Oh God, what do I do now?" Then I started crying and sobbing; grabbing dirt and throwing it into the air and over my head. For a few minutes I had totally forgotten about my children. Neighborhood women gathered and looked for my children. My two daughters were pulled out of the rubble and debris, unharmed. In that street, a child was wounded, and my husband was martyred there and then.

The world turned black in my mind, like the middle of night.

A few months later, I gave birth to my third child but from the day that I lost my husband, I am wandering with three children from one place to another, hoping that God will protect my children. My youngest child is especially dear to me and keeps my heart warm.

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