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Today, December 10, is observed as the Human Rights Day world over. However, organisations in Afghanistan have taken the opportunity to declare this day as the National Victims Day to commemorate the million of victims claimed by the three decades of ongoing war in the country. There are no definite figures, but estimated numbers suggest that as many as 1.8 million were killed during first decade following soviet invasion. About 100,000 are believed to have been killed since the Americans arrived. And countless others in between those two conflicts.

National Victims Day

National Victims Day

And so, to mark this event, Social Association of Afghan Justice Seekers (SAAJS) covered the walls of the ruins of Darulaman Palace with pictures of the many victims of war who are still awaiting justice. A fitting tribute, lest we forget. They also brought together some of the families who had lost a close relative or a friend to share their stories with others.

It is believed that every Afghan of this generation is either a victim of war or closely related to a war victim.

 

 

 

Citizens shared their stories of how the war affected them.

Name: Samad
Age: 20 years
Location: Kabul (Originally from Farah)
Profession: Student

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last three or four decades of war?
I think every single Afghan is a victim of war. People have been killed and bombarded in their homes. Some people have migrated to neighboring countries. You may not find a person who is not a war victim.

Could you tell your own story please?
We migrated to Pakistan. We did not have a home. There were no jobs. There were thousands of problems. After much hardwork, we made a life for ourselves. There were widowed women and orphans. You could not find a family that hadn’t been affected by war.

Do you know of other stories of relatives or friends who have been killed during the war?
I don’t know about friends and relatives, but I know innocent people, teachers and intellectuals were being taken out of their home and killed by the puppet Russian regime. There was a list of 5000 people who were killed, but there are many other nameless victims who were killed in Poly Gone.

Your thoughts.
The three decades of war, followed by the Taliban regime and even interference by Pakistan that has committed so many crimes in Afghanistan. We must have a conscience, defend human rights and stand against injustice.

Name: Mostafa
Age: 14 years
Location: Jaghuri district of Ghazni
Profession: Student

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
When Russian attacked Jahguri, most of the people from my village stood against them at an area called Tanga. All of them were killed.

Later, they also attacked Loman and killed many peoples.

Name: Mohib Shadan
Age: 24
Location: Kabul (Originally from Kandahar)
Profession: Marketing officer

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
I believe almost every single Afghan has a sad story of 3 decades of war in Afghanistan. We were being killed without even participating in a war. We were being killed without having committed a single crime. You wouldn’t know who you are fighting. You and your family could be killed at home while you were having breakfast, lunch or dinner. You could be killed on the streets, home and shops. No place was safe. It was civil war in Afghanistan. But was it really a civil war? I don’t know!

Could you tell your own story please?
As my father was on his way home, a rocket hit Shahidan Chawk of Kandahar city and killed 7-8 people, and several others were injured. My father was also injured, but since his injury was on his head. He did not survive. He died in the hospital!

20 years later, I am trying to remember something about him, but I can’t, because I was a little child when he left us. What is the meaning of having a father? Everybody say that a father is a great support! I have seen my friends being appreciated by their fathers. I have seen how happy some fathers get when they see their sons and daughters graduate. I have seen friends sharing happiness and sorrow with their fathers. I have seen my friends having fun and joking with their fathers. But I have never experienced this. I have never experienced the feeling of having a father!

Name: Jamshid
Age: 30
Location: Kabul

Profession: Employee at a private company

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
My father was arrested in 1978 and he was taken to Poly Gon of Pole Charkhi. He was killed by Communists. He was killed because he was against the Communists.

Your thoughts.
We expect nothing from government. Karzai never did anything for us. He was the one who gave a place to those warlords and brought them back to power.

We don’t expect anything from President Ashraf Ghani’s administration either.

Name: Juma Khan
Age: 19
Location: Wardak

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
Nobody from our relatives and family has been the victim of war.

Name: Mohammad Hussain
Age: 18
Location: Wardak

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
Nobody from our relatives and family has been the victim of war.

Name: Nawid
Age: 21
Location: Nimruz
Profession: Employee at Ministry of Education

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
Last year, Safa, 18-year-old, whom was taking his sick mother to the hospital crossed a road which was banned for citizens. He was killed by the bodyguards of a warlord.

Name: Noorulldin
Age: 27
Location: Kabul
Profession: Student of law faculty of Kabul University

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last three or four decades of war?
5 member of my family have been killed during the time of Khalq And Parcham (Communists and Maoists) as well as during the reign of the Mujahideens: three of my uncles, my grandfather and my cousin. They were taken from Old Makroyan, and executed by Communists at Pole Charkhi.

My grandfather tried to escape but he was shot from back.

Name: Frema Habibi
Age: 23
Location: Kunar
Profession: House wife

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last four decades of war?
In 1979, an uncle of my father’s went missing. We were in Pakistan at that time. We could not search for him. After 15 years, we heard that he was killed and they had buried him where he died.

Name: Weeda Ahamd
Location: Kabul
Profession: Organiser, Director at SAAJS

Have you or your relatives been victims of the last three or four decades of war?
During the Mujahideen’s time, they came and beat my uncle and aunt, killed them and then looted their homes. During the Communist regime, my father was sentenced to prison two times. They tortured my father because he was in the army. They were capturing all those who spoke against the regime. And then during Karzai’s time, my cousin and his son were killed without having committed a crime by one of the warlords in the North. But when I hear stories by others, I forget my own pain.

Since you work here, of course you may have heard lots of war stories. Can you share some of them with us?
The first time I went to Afshar, I saw a woman telling her story. During the time of Sayyaf and Masood, a women was forced to give up her gold ring. When she refused, they cut her fingers, and raped her. She bared a child from the rape. Being born from a mother who has been raped, the child became a reminder of the horrors of war.

In the old city, we hear that 20 soldiers had entered a home and killed the men. They were there for 24 hours and raped the women. We have lots of stories like this from Karte Naw where soldiers entered homes and raped girls from in front of their brothers and fathers.

It’s very difficult for the families to tell the story of rape. They do not reveal that.

Your thoughts.
We have conducted exhibitions in Kabul streets and had programs last year and this year too. The exhibitions and programs are conducted for a week and we have declared it as the victims’ week. It is dedicated to the victims of the massacres of 1978 and other massacres during Mujahideen war. We condemn the criminals and attempt to educate the young generation.

Those who have killed people are trying to somehow justify their crimes and forget what they have done. We witnessed that conditions became worse in our democracy, with slogans for women rights and counter terrorism. Even with the National Unity Government, every week we continue to see 3-4 suicide attacks. We raise our voice to not let criminals live like they do these days. We should punish those who destroyed Kabul. Mass graves of 1978 should not be forgotten. Intellectuals, teachers and poets were killed. We went to Afshar to show the massacre of 1000 innocent people.

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National Victims Day: Stories from four decades of war in Afghanistan

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