Kabul Diaries Part 5: Before the Taliban Occupation — Anecdotes from Kabul University

September 1, 2021
Kabul University. Photo: @Samiullah_Mahdi/Twitter

The daily Jeddojehad (Struggle), a left-wing online Urdu-language paper is posting reports from Kabul. Filed by Yasmeen Afghan (not the author’s real name), these reports depict picture from inside Kabul and cover what is often ignored in the mainstream media.

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Posted on August 24, 2021:

I am at a loss for words, I don’t know how I should write, what I want to write. I am desperately trying to reach a few friends but have not been able to since Kabul fell to the Taliban.

In 2010, while I was working for one of the international news organisations, I decided to complete my university degree. I enrolled in the evening classes of one of the private universities in Kabul. The evening classes had girls, boys, men, and women from different organisations.

I joined the law faculty, our class had five girls and 25 men from the US embassy to the security directorate of Afghanistan. I started off to be a bit unfriendly with my three classmates from the directorate as over the years I had heard about those working for the national security directorate to be ruthless and unjust. I had heard the stories about the Najibullah period so basically that was the reason I was hostile towards them. The three of them were almost in their late thirties or something, were married and had children.

In a week’s time, things changed; I warmed up to them after one of them stood up for me against a harasser in the university. I started to talk to them more and would hang out during break times with them. From having coffees to eating corn in the winter snows, we would joke and eat together. The main topic of discussion would always be politics and there were even arguments and shouting too but they would call me Rafeeq (buddy) and everything would go back to normal. One day one of them said, Rafeeq is very hot headed and we should not discuss politics with her, but then the other two laughed and told me that he was only teasing me.

I still remember that as a strong headed girl, I would not listen to anyone and I was the only girl not covering my head and they would always defend me if anyone would try to say anything.

I felt protected around them. I felt they were my family. We were from two different ethnic groups, but still they would not go home till they were not sure that my driver was there to pick me up.

I told one of them in 2017 that my husband will be visiting Kabul and I was scared for his security, he laughed and assured me that he will personally take me to the airport and that my husband will be saved and protected during his stay in Kabul.

I have been thinking about them constantly over the past one week. As soon as the Taliban entered Kabul, my mind automatically went to them because I knew they would be the first target.

I was frantically searching for them for days and finally I was able to talk to one of them today. First, we were chatting. Then all of a sudden I had this fear that what if on the other side is a Taliban member and trying to extract information from me about him so I asked him to call.

As soon as I heard his voice I was like, Oh God, thank God, you are safe! I will not divulge the information where he is at the moment but knowing that he is fine was one of the best news in days. I asked about the other two classmates and he told me that the day Kabul fell was the last time he had heard from them and since then their phones have been switched off.

I cannot stop thinking about their smiling faces or how they would stand up for me for other girls in trouble. Their attitude and love for Afghanistan made me see the national directorate of security in a different light. I started to like and respect NDS and would listen to their stories. Over the past couple of days, I cannot help think that they were not part of NDS. I wish they had a different profession but then I think that at the moment, Afghans who have worked in any field are a target so nothing would have saved them.

I feel so helpless and hopeless thinking about them and their families. Where they might be and under which conditions? Will I ever be able to hear their voices again? My heart sinks and breaks to a million pieces by what if...

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