A War As Harsh As The Country’s Dry Mountains

The eastern province of Afghanistan is Kunar. Its border runs close to Pakistan towns. Before signing the 1893 agreement with the British rulers, the region was part of Afghanistan. The Durand line divided Pashtun into two parts, on either side of the border. Kunar province has not lost its strategic importance since the 1996 Afghan Taliban eruption in the country. Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan militancy is and remains infamous. The Afghanistan administration accuses Pakistani intelligence agencies for harbouring Taliban on its territory, Kunar province, and that’s why the situation is uncertain in most parts of the country. On the other hand, the Pakistani authority also blames the Afghan government for providing a safe haven for Pakistani militants. 

The four, long decades war have destroyed the economy, culture, education and each and every aspect of life in Afghanistan. The youth are born into and grow up in a war that remains as harsh as the dry mountains of the land. Hassan Khan is among thousands of young people, who want to bring peace and stability to his motherland. He was born in Kunar province. As there were no modern institutions of education, he grew up only being able to read and write, but his love of doing something positive never perished. He was in the police force for three years but decided to leave and undertake the hard journey from the snow-capped mountains of Kunar to Berlin. 

“I was living in war torn village, basic facilities were not available” Hassan Khan said of his home town. There was not a single school, hospital nor any electricity poles in the village. His parents were also unaware of the importance of these facilities. “Sadly, most people consider it their fate to live in miserable lives!” he sighed and dropped his head. Hassan regrets his lack of education and blames international powers and neighbouring countries for ruining the country and their interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

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Hassan Khan joined the police force to protect his country from miscreants but he considers those three years the hardest of his life. “The brutal Afghan Taliban would attack us at all times. The Taliban would follow soldiers to their homes to target and make an example of them to weaken the rest of the peace lovers.”, Hassan said. The Taliban consider democracy to be an anti-Islamic system of governance and the protectors of the government are proclaimed to be infidel. The Afghanistan army and police are on the front line to protect the system and country from a further blood bath. “And because of this soldiers sacrifice their today for their generation’s tomorrow” Hassan acknowledged. Dozens of his friends embraced martyrdom and fought again and again against the brutal Taliban. Each time they were ready to fall in the line of duty. 

Hassan Khan kept his profession in the police hidden from most people. Whenever he was in the village left his police identity card in the office. “It would be terrible if they [Taliban] found it! They would kill the person without listening to them.” Hassan Khan described the agony of being a government servant. He would go home without telling anyone and not speak to family members on the phone. There are dozens of spies for the Taliban in government institutions too. 

At the age of 14 my parents tied the knot between me and a local girl. For more than two years I could not face my parents in the morning, The shy, young Pashtun spoke of his private life. My wife was a much younger than I and even shyer than me, Hassan smiled. Now they have two kids and he misses them and his family a lot. 

In such harsh and risky circumstances, Hassan Khan left his home for a safer and a better life with tears in his eyes. From Afghanistan he went west to Iran and then Turkey and Bulgaria. The Bulgarian police treated us like animals and even allowed dogs to bite refugees in contingent, he recalled. Later on the government allowed the refugees to reach Germany. 

Now Hassan goes to an integration school where he has learned many German words and he can find his way around Berlin without a guide. His asylum case has been accepted and in near future his family will also arrive. Hassan is now satisfied that his sons will have a future and he is determined to work hard for their education. “I faced a big problem being uneducated so I want my children to flourish and be well educated boys” he shrugged.his shoulders . “I miss my family. . . . 

By: Noor Badshah Yousafzai

This story is part of a brochure in the making by Noor Badshah Yousafzai. He is a journalist and contributed articles to media outlets such as e.g. the BBC Pashtu and is also an editor for The Pashtun Express. As soon as the brochure is printed, we’ll publish it here on our blog. Until then, we want to share the stories with you individually, one by one. The brochure is funded by “Partnerschaften für Demokratie Treptow-Köpenick” through the programme Demokratie Leben!

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