The Last Weekday: An Afghan Veteran Reports from Iran

The last days of my occupation in the Afghan government were painful for me. I was deployed to a central military unit to collect reports of the collapse of checkpoints, battalions, brigades, and security bases in most provinces, specifically those near Kabul.

It was disappointing to me. I knew the soldiers had high morale, but we have been receiving reports of a fall every day. The falls were not due to the weakness but to a pre-planned conspiracy.

Days passed and I shared the reports with the authorities momentarily, but no attention was paid. Of the ten urgent cases, perhaps one was being investigated. The reports of the comrades’ casualties made me even sadder. I knew there were covert deals, but what was more painful was that I was witnessing the soldiers strongly fight the Taliban.

On the last working day, the first thing in the morning after I woke up and prayed was to get ready to go to university based on my daily plans. I told myself that the situation was not so appealing and I have to go to work earlier today. I gave up going to university and instead headed to my office. My house was about 35 km away from my office.

The route I took seemed strange from usual days; That is, people were less likely to move around. An hour later, I was at my office. The situation in our camp was not normal at all. Most of the attendees had come to work in casual clothes. I knew something strange was going to happen. I sat down at my desk and handed my mobile phone to a colleague to take my last picture.

“I know this is the last day we are here,” I told the colleague.

An hour or two later, it was reported that the Taliban were approaching Kabul without any resistance. Most members left the base in local clothes (Shalwar Kameez). Although we shouted for resistance, no one agreed. Our commanders were all silent. Authorities ordered all staff to leave the camp immediately. The soldiers closed the watchtowers and started firing into the air. Most of the soldiers cried, saying that we will not give in so easily. Eventually, everyone was convinced to leave the garrison. I drove home with the personal vehicle I had. There was a deadly traffic jam. I traveled several routes until I managed to reach the Shahr-i-Naw after 4:00 pm. It was not clear what would happen.

I saw Taliban forces patrolling the city. It was sad to see those scenes, but it was too late to do something. I got home. I was at home for two or three days. It was unbearable for me to see strange people driving military vehicles. On the third day, a friend of mine called me and said, “We are going to Iran and there are three of us. If you want to join us, pack your bags and move on.”

In the afternoon, I said farewell to the family and went to my friend’s house with my father and brother. They were ready. I had to leave my father and brother. Although they did not want me to go, they let me anyway. We went to the “Company” area; Where buses go to Kandahar and the west of the country. We left Kabul in the middle of the night. After two days in Nimroz, we surrendered to the smugglers, leaving Afghanistan’s territory for Iran.

What a sad life!

We spent 11 days on the smuggling route to Iran. From the Taliban to the Pakistani army, Pakistani militias, smugglers, Iranian police, Baluchs and others extorted money from us under any pretext. We traveled day and night, hopeless and in a very bad situation. The four of us were about to start a fight with smugglers. The smugglers treated the passengers very badly. There were two traveling companions with daughters and young children.

Finally, we reached Iran with difficulty. On the way, most of the time we could not even find water to drink. The weather was warm and we had no money in our pockets. We had been transported from Nimroz to an Iranian city by a Toyota truck. In the back of the car alone, 30 people were sitting. It was very annoying. From the first Iranian city onwards, we were transported by high-speed vehicles, which carried about 16 people in each vehicle. There were families with us, therefore, we four had to sit in the trunk of the vehicle; Where it was difficult to even breathe. The smugglers mistreated the passengers. Whenever the trafficker wanted, he could kick and punch the passengers.

When we arrived in Tehran and paid the smugglers, they abandoned us. At the end of our trip, I regretted leaving my homeland and wanted to return to Kabul. My relatives live here in Iran, therefore, I had to stay. I have all the facilities here and I have no problems. I live here in my uncle’s house.

After a few days, I wanted to work to support myself and my family. But here in Iran, too, only hard labor is available for Afghans. My pride does not allow me to work as a subjugated, underclass human for Iranian civilians. I want to return to Afghanistan, but my relatives will not allow it. Everyone says you have to wait for things to get better. If I work as a mercenary in Afghanistan, I am honored. Maybe in Afghanistan, I can provide only food for my family, that is enough for me right now.

If the quick victory of the Taliban had not been pre-planned in advance, they certainly would not have been able to defeat the Afghan army for another hundred years. Now that the Taliban have taken control of the country, they must stop persecuting the ex-military personnel so that we can return to Afghanistan and serve our shared home.

Iran is not my home!

[box type=”info” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=””]Quraishi’s Story, Hasht-e Subh Persian[/box]