Living in war, laughing among incessant bullets and breathing in smoke is nobody’s wish; But a large part of the people of Baghlan these days are struggling more with war and fear.
Children in central Baghlan find it impossible to go to school and open books, and girls are less likely to wear henna on their hands. Sometimes during the conflict between the government and the Taliban, the Taliban are killed and the government feels proud and victorious to kill them, and sometimes vice versa; But Abdullah, the head and father of a family of ten, has never been happier. He just wants peace. In the past few weeks, a car bomb exploded in central Baghlan, again injuring civilians, and fears of war have become more prevalent in the province.
Central Baghlan, one of the districts of Baghlan province, was the most insecure district in the province since last month, with about 8,000 families displaced from this district and several insecure districts in the province to Pul-e-Khumri. Abdullah is a resident of central Baghlan district who was displaced to Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of the province, 34 days ago with ten members of his family.
The damp and six square meter basement with small, broken windows is the house where Abdullah and his family have spent 34 days and nights. Abdullah remembers that night well; A night when the sound of bullets became louder and people took refuge in their homes out of fear. Sometimes the voice of Allah Akbar came and sometimes the sound of rockets and bullets. The bullets hit them around and near their houses and scared them even more. They spent the whole night with gunshot noises. In the early morning, Abdullah’s family moved to Pul-e-Khumri with several other families from the central Baghlan district and spent several days and nights without shelter on the roads of Pul-e-Khumri until several families were forced to seek refuge in a private school for having patients, old age and children. Many went to the homes of relatives and friends. Some also preferred the damp basements to war and stayed there.
The families barely made it out with their lives that night. They did not have enough clothes, food or money to meet their needs. “All men are workers like me, and we eat what we earn during the day,” Abdullah said. We do not have enough money, which is why many of us are sick with hunger. “I did not eat for two days because I gave it to my young children so that they would not go hungry.”
Most of Baghlan districts are now under the control of the Taliban, and many residents of the province fear living under their shadow after experiencing the Taliban regime in 1995.
Nasim, who lost his father while fleeing and got shot in the back, now lives with his two sisters and mother in a private school in Pul-e-Khumri. As the head of the family, he worries about his future and that of his sisters.
The night the Taliban took control of the central Baghlan district, Nasim fled with his family as their house was handed over to the Taliban with all their savings, and Nasim said there was probably nothing left of what they had. “I intend to emigrate to neighboring countries, but now we have nothing but our clothes,” he said.
Nasim’s sister, who did not give her name, is worried that she will not be able to continue her studies. He was a student in 11th grade and now, with the arrival of the Taliban in the central Baghlan district, the schools have been closed and she has been displaced.
After 34 days, Abdullah decided to move again, this time not to the neighboring districts, but to his own district and home. He takes a deep breath. He feels frightened. When he enters the district, he feels that nothing is the same as before. The sound of sheep, the bells of goats, the boiling of spring water and most importantly the sound of life. Most of the earth is covered with bullet shells. The walls were destroyed by mortar fire, and the newly planted fields were razed to the ground. These are narrated by Abdullah. The day after I called, he had taken his youngest daughter to the cemetery for burial. His daughter was nine years old, and after walking and starving, she suffered from a fever for a week and eventually lost her life. Abdullah bursts into anger in a phone call, saying, “Right before your call, there was war again. There is war every day. The mortar came and hit the wall of my house; half of my house collapsed. “My son was injured.” When he swallows his anger, his voice clears and he continues: “Our neighbor is going to Turkey, but I do not have the money to go and save the lives of my children.”
Abdullah has nothing in the world but the birthplace where his child was killed, the house that collapsed, the city that drove him away, and the laughter that dried up; But he has a heart that is very big. He is sad, but at night he looks at his children by the light of the lamp and loves them all. Everything has changed with the arrival of the Taliban in the central Baghlan district. No one works on the fields anymore. Children are scared and cannot leave the house. Schools are closed and children do not go to school. Only boys go to the mosque. Going to the mosque has become a hobby for these boys.
Abdullah speaks of the ineluctability of the people; That a Taliban representative enters a house every day and orders that the family must feed the Mujahideen for three days. Abdullah, who has just buried his daughter and is still mourning, begins his morning with a Taliban representative who says he will have to provide food for 20 people for three days. “I only have a few pieces of dry bread at home right now, I do not know how I can prepare food for twenty people for three days. Again, if the food is not good, I will be punished. “I already owe my neighbor some money that he lent me to buy some flour for my family.”
Life is still going on, but I do not know how much will Abdullah and hundreds of people like him have to struggle to survive and breathe. It is still summer and warm and green, but Abdullah is experiencing the worst days of his life after losing his daughter to this war, this the lifr of the people in the central Baghlan.