The Story of Asif Malistani (Son)

Victim’s Name: Abdul-Qayum Malistani

Date of Incident: 1979

Place of Incident: Kabul

My father was disappeared in April 1979. He was working with the Department of Disaster Prevention when he was arrested by the Communist Regime. Since then we do not know whether he is alive or dead. Until 1966, my father lived in Malistan. He studied Islamic Theology and Sharia there and had handwritten a famous Shiite epic poetry book called Hamla-e-Haidari. Completing his military service by 1966, he then moved to Kabul with his family. Since he was educated, he was hired as a junior staff at the Ministry of Defense. In 1973, he was transferred to the Department of Disaster Prevention where he had to travel to Zabul, Farah and other provinces and report on the situation of homeless and poor families.

In April 1978, the Saur Revolution occurred and in early 1979 my father was arrested. I was still a child and could not understand the political and social situation, so I do not remember much but my elder brother still remembers the incident with details. I just remember that we were living in Khushhal Khan area (PD-5). One day, around 12:00 noon, one of my friends whom I met on the street told me that my father had gone to Mazar-e-Sharif (Balkh Province). I was surprised and did not understand why he would had left so suddenly and without informing us. Once home, I felt the situation was different from normal. My family was consulting each other whether or not listening to BBC Radio, as it could have been considered a crime by the regime. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) hated the broadcasting corporation and could warrant arrest or even eliminate those identified as listening to the radio. I then realized that my father was taken by the PDPA intelligence service.

My family did everything to find information and searched through every possibility. They went to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Pol-e-Charkhi Prison and Detention Center and many other places to find him but he was nowhere to be found. We suffered a lot because we had no one to support us. Despite being a child, I had to work after school. I used to make and sell paper bags in Kabul’s streets, earning just 40 cents per day. It took many years for my brother to finish his military service and go to Pakistan where he joined an NGO working for Afghan refugees. Together, it was easier to support the family. With the onset of the civil war in Kabul between Mujahideen groups, we had to leave Kabul and go back to Malistan where we lived for almost 20 years. In 2010, we were able to come back to Kabul. I hope the day never comes that we become displaced again and leave everything behind.

From the day, my father was arrested, I have many unanswered questions. Where is my father? Why was he arrested? What was his crime or fault? Who is responsible or accountable for such countless massacres and disappearances? Whenever I visit the Polygon area of Pul-e-Charkhi Prison, I ask myself whether my father is among the thousands who were executed there for no reason.

Leave a Reply