Kabul Rocket Attacks and the Bitter Story of its Victims – a Light Extinguished and Newlywed Shaqayiq Drowned in Blood
Masoud, Mashal and Shaqayiq’s uncle, an employee of the Supreme National Reconciliation Council said, “They drown us in blood in the privacy of our own home, and then they say that peace is near! How can we believe that when my beloved newlywed Shaqayiq is no more? She was supposed to go to Canada in the next few days, but today she is resting under the ground. If this isn’t the inscription of sadness, then what is? We have the right to die from this grief. Believe me, we are dying from this grief. Whenever I talked with my 20-year-old niece and 21-year-old Mashal, they had so many plans for the future. Mashal had just come from Turkey and wanted to go back to university. We lost two young people, two futures, two failed dreams today…These days, my brother’s house was full of jubilation, we had a wedding and Mashal had just returned from Turkey. The wedding ceremony easily turned into a mourning ceremony and my brother’s joy into grief.”
It’s Saturday, the beginning of a new week, at breakfast with the family. There are many unspoken words, especially for a family with many travelers – someone arrives one day and another leaves the next. But who knew that Mashal and Shaqayiq would end their life’s journeys forever? In an instant, at the same breakfast table, at the very moment when the father looks enthusiastically into the eyes of his young children, everything is disturbed by a terrible sound. It is about 9 o’clock in the morning and suddenly a painful story is recorded here in Khair Khana, a corner of Kabul city.
It is difficult to find the victims’ family members during the first hours of the accident and it is even more difficult to talk to them. Some are crying and others still do not believe what has happened to them. I find Masoud’s contact number with urgent follow-ups. I call several times, but do not receive a response. Finally, the phone rings and a man on the other end of the line answers, with a grief-stricken voice. As soon as I say the names Shaqayiq and Mashal, his grief explodes, but he manages to calms down very quickly. It seems that he has a heavier responsibility these days and cannot afford to lose himself, when his brother is mourning the deaths of his two young children and he, as the uncle of the deceased, should be both the comfort of his brother’s restless heart and the spokesperson to others.
With faint noises of crying in the background, he says, “It was sometime around nine o’clock when my brother called. He usually doesn’t call me at that time, which is why I wondered what the reason might be, with a prayer to God. On the other hand, I had been informed that the city was a bit on edge that day. As I was going to work, I answered. Until that day, I had never heard my brother’s voice like that. He did not have the strength to talk and just told me to come quickly.”
Masoud continues, “My brother’s house is in Khair Khana, near Gholam Haidar Khan High School. I was very worried and full of anxiety. I said to myself, ‘maybe my sister-in-law is sick, and that’s why he asked me to come. I rushed to get there. Around the house, it was so chaotic, that I wish no one else has to experience it. As soon as my eyes fell on the third house, my arms and legs became weak. I said, ‘God, have mercy.’ What else could I say? I reached my brother’s house. My brother was lying in a corner. As far as the eye could see, there was blood on the floor and the walls of the house and the broken windows. Shaqayiq and Mashal were covered in blood and my brother’s wife was severely injured and weak in another corner of the house. The rocket had hit the house.”
Massoud is not in a good condition, he expresses his broken words with great effort. He has the right not to be calm and collected in such situations. “When I saw the situation, I realized I had to control myself,” he says. “My brother was not well and his condition was not normal. I told those around me that we should take the injured to the hospital. Honestly, I had no hope, as they had bled a lot. In the first hour, their faces were pale and their lips were black and blue. We took Shaqayiq, Mashal and my brother’s wife to Khair Khana Hospital. I was giving hope to my brother, who was wounded in spite of his strength and was not feeling well. What can the grief of a strong man mean other than losing himself and collapsing in the face of a tragic event?”
“Shaqayiq and Mashal lost their lives in the first moments in the hospital. My brother was also informed since he was with me. I couldn’t hide it. My brother’s wife, however, is in a coma and her condition is critical. What could be done but surrender to the will of God?”
I asked Masoud to tell me about Shaqayiq and Mashal, about their plans, about their lives, about the dreams of these two youngsters who left us too soon. He sighs and says, “My beloved newlywed niece, Shaqayiq, is no more. She was supposed to go to Canada in the next few days, but today she is resting under the ground; if this isn’t the inscription of sadness, then what is? We have the right to die from this grief. Believe me, we are dying from this grief. Whenever I talked with my 20-year-old niece and the 21-year-old Mashal, they had so many plans for the future. Mashal had just come from Turkey and wanted to go back to university. We lost two young people, two futures, two dreams today…In the days before that, my brother’s house was full of jubilation, as we had a wedding and Mashal had just returned from Turkey. The wedding ceremony turned into a mourning ceremony and joy turned into my brother’s grief. Insecurity has passed through the gates and reached the walls of the houses, so what are they talking about in Doha when they are killing us inside our homes? I, myself, am a government employee, but I protest, I criticize, I am a victim of these events. They drown us in blood in the privacy of our own homes, then say that peace is near.”
Masoud, in a state of confusion and despair that he can hardly speak, says, “We are going to bury the bodies of Mashal and Shaqayiq in Kolola Pushta Hill…” and I say, “May this be your last sorrow.”
We know this wasn’t our last sorrow, but it wasn’t our first either. We wake up in the morning with the sound of a rocket, and we wake up in the morning with the sound of the moans and cries of the survivors, and our days pass just as restlessly and cruelly, without death leaving us free of care for even a second. This is Afghanistan and we mourn so much that we cannot take off this black dress of mourning…