The Story of Halima (Wife)

Victim’s Name: Hazrat Khan

Place of Incident: 1992

Date of Incident: Kabul

When I first got married, my father-in-law was the main breadwinner of our family. He was a carpenter. When he became older and stopped working, my husband, Hazrat Khan joined the army as an ordinary soldier. He was not paid well, and when later he was deployed in another province, it was difficult for him to send money home. My sister-in-law and I would do embroidery at home and then sell it at the local market. Eight months later, my husband visited home and with the small amount of salary he brought, we bought flour and oil. He stayed for a few days and then returned to the barracks. For a period of eight months, he was able to send money through one of our relatives. When he returned home two years later, he started working at a bakery. We had two more children and our living conditions were relatively good until he was recalled by the army.

Eighteen months later, as it was time for him to return to visit home, we waited impatiently for days. On the 18th day, I got up in the morning to prepare Bolani hoping for his return. I had prepared only three when I heard someone crying. I went out and saw two soldiers standing at the gate. Once they had confirmation that it was Hazrat Khan’s house, they told my father-in-law that Hazrat Khan had been injured and hospitalized. Together, they went to the hospital and discovered that he, Hazrat Khan, had died. Once my father-in-law was back from the hospital at 4:00pm, I asked him about how my husband was doing. He told me Hazrat Khan was slightly injured and would brought home the day after.

My younger son did not sleep the whole night, he wanted to see his father. That night a lot of people came to our home bringing big dishes of food. When my uncle asked for the Quran, I asked my father-in-law if he was hiding anything from me and if Hazrat Khan had died. I began to cry so my mother-in-law tried to explain that they needed the Quran for a different purpose. The next morning, I cleaned my room because my father-in-law had said that he and his friends would be sitting there. Later, my sisters-in-law came, hugged me and informed me that Hazrat Khan had passed away. I fainted and remained unconscious for a long time and when I regained consciousness, I saw a coffin covered with red cloth. I was six months pregnant at that time and my six-year-old daughter kept asking who she would call father now. She hid under the bed and began to cry.

Over the next few weeks, the fire of war spread everywhere including Chehilsutun where we lived. Everyone was forced to leave their homes and we moved to Shor Bazaar. When my mother-in-law died, I went to live in my father’s home in Jade-Asmayi but we had nothing to eat. I stayed with my sister-in-law for three months until we finally found a place to stay. We did not even have a carpet to sit on. Later, someone donated military blankets and a bag of flour. I had no utensils to make bread for my children so I borrowed a small cooking pan from my neighbor. For three months, my children would be asleep most of the time as there was nothing to eat and in the evenings, we had nothing to light and heat our home with.

When the fighting finally came to a halt, I borrowed a sewing machine from my father and began sewing for others to be able to feed my children. Gradually, I managed to buy small things for my home including three cups, spoons and a plastic blanket. Nowadays, I wash clothes and tailor even though it is extremely difficult due to my heart problem but I had worst days when I had no food for my children except a piece of bread.


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