Chehil Dukhtaran Residents One Day After the Explosion; blood and anger

One day has passed since the attack on the Sayed Ul-Shuhada school in the 13th security district of Kabul. Chehil Dukhtaran is near the place where three explosions took place on Saturday at 4:27 PM. The main question of the people is why the government is not able to provide security. The more fundamental question is why there is so much inconsistency in the reporting of casualties in Afghanistan. Locals say that in a school that has several thousand students and at the time when they were leaving school, how could only 30 or 40 people be killed? According to locals, they bathed the bodies of more than 100 people, which left no room in the surrounding mosques and they had to stack the bodies on top of each other.

The situation in this area is not good. Damaged doors and walls; the effects of the explosion are visible. The clinic next to the school has its windows completely shattered and even the gates removed. At several places between the dirt and the blood, the remains of the victims’ belongings can be seen. This place is full of pain and reveals the unspoken. In one corner, Marzia’s bloody ID card has fallen, in the other corner, a girl’s red shoes and in another corner, burnt books. The local people have gathered. They are both mourning and fearful, they are worried and they are in a bad mood. They react sharply to the presence of the media. They say: “Why did you come? Go, all of you, go and leave us alone in our grief.” Suddenly, the crowd shouts Allah Akbar (God is great). While interviewing, I take out my phone to record the conversation. Suddenly, there is a woman with a stone in her hand pointing at me.

She shouted: “We are miserable, we have no one left, everyone has died, everyone has been killed. We are all grieving together.” Then she sits on her knees and pulls her blue veil over her head and wails.

A group of people were standing in front of us. They ask angrily, “Why did you come?” We say we are journalists, we are mourning and we have come to raise the voices of the victims. One comes out of the crowd, louder than the others, with his head bandaged. Hadi Hossaini introduces himself and says: “I was injured in yesterday’s incident, but my main question is, if I talk, will you publish all our chats without censorship or not? Our grief doubles when false statistics of victims are published. By God, more than 100 people were killed.”

“To whom should we tell our pain? Government? Which government? A government that has forgotten us? The government is incompetent to ensure our justice; they behaves as if the residents of the 13th district are not part of the Afghan people. If they cannot ensure our security, If they cannot do justice, why do they not resign? Our lives are in danger, our children are in danger. What is going on!?” He points his head and says: “There was an explosion in the area where we are now. When we arrived, the first and second explosions had occurred. We were here, we were moving the wounded and the dead, when suddenly a terrible sound was heard with smoke and fire, and we did not understand what had happened. At the same time, we did not stop for a second, moving the wounded and the dead. It does not matter why I was injured, it does matter why at least 100 people died when the TV channels report 30 people. Weren’t the reporters in the area yesterday and didn’t they see how many casualties we had? Were 30 people really killed? We have no safety. We don’t… we don’t…”

Suddenly I come across the tearful face of an innocent girl. She sheds tears all over the belongings left from all her classmates. She tells stories, full of pain and full of tears. “Yesterday we were waiting for the rest of our classmates when school was over,” said Gulsum, a student at the Sayed Ul-Shuhada school. Suddenly, an explosion occurred. We ran a little further, the second explosion happened. We ran towards Wali Asr town when the third explosion took place. We were very scared. I could see with my own eyes that shrapnels hit the girls’ heads and they fell to the ground. Several of my friends were killed. Nikbakht, Zahra and Basira were injured.”

“Today we came with all our classmates to go to the homes of our killed friends to offer our condolences. Why are we in such a situation? Why should we be killed when we are innocent? What kind of government do we have? How dare a suicide bomber enter a school? How dare they kill us? ” She cries and stays in the corner..

Amid the hustle and bustle, my co-worker points somewhere. The crowd shouts. A broken, sad, and grief-stricken old man wails, weeps, and shouts, inviting everyone to fight. “This is genocide!” he says, “Genocide! We need to fight back so this does not happen again.” The shouts of “God is great” comes from the crowd again.

Women are still far from the bodies of the dead and cry quietly under their colorful veils. A woman begins to cry and scream, as if her grief does not seem to subside any time soon. She sharply criticizes the incompetence of the government. I ask, ‘who did you lose?’ She answers with, “‘Who did I lose?’ All my neighbors, left and right, have lost their children. What sorrow is bigger than this? They were all like my daughters.”

At the same time, another woman describes the mosque and the ghusl (bathe) of the martyrs. With her bony and pained face, she narrates yesterday, the moment of the explosion, the same seconds that passed slowly and panic-struck, mothers left their houses. “Has ethnic and religious divisions led us to be killed like this in recent years? Courses, schools, sports clubs, mosques and even hospitals. There is no place left to bathe the bodies in the surrounding mosques, so many people are killed. Yesterday was hell here, smoke and fire, explosion. Mothers searching for their children. Our windows all shattered. Do you not care about people’s lives? Or are we not among the people of this country? What has Hazara done wrong? Where are the security officials? Where were the security officials in districts 13 and 18? Eleventh and twelfth grade girls were killed. Why? Because they were studying. Why do all the children of political leaders never get hurt?” they ask.

“We did not break our fast last night, we did not have suhoor (pre-dawn mean), and we are still fasting today,” they say angrily.

Mohammad Basir is another resident of western Kabul. He addresses the international community sharply,  “I urge the international community to address peace in Afghanistan in favor of the people and civilians and without taking any party’s side. The international community must put pressure on both Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban. What kind of peace talks is this? Are you playing with us so that you could kill us more calculatedly? The international community should consider the issue of transitional justice and the handling of war crimes on both sides.”

Residents of the Chehil Dukhtaran area are in a state of shock and anger the day after Wednesday’s incident. They complain about the discriminatory attitude of the government and emphasize in their speeches that their position with the Taliban and ISIS is clear. The Taliban and ISIS are terrorists and murderers, but why does the government not ensure our security? Does the government work with them? Incompetent commanders must be fired.

Lastly, the windows of a small shop have shattered. The shopkeeper collects the glass with trembling hands. The women recall yesterday and wiped their tears again. At the school that was brutally attacked, 7,000 students were studying, and at the time of the explosion, there were 2,000 students present at the school. All of whom were girls.