The Story of Abbas Ahmadzai (Son)

Victims’ Names: Zarkhan and Gulab (Khawazak) Ahmadzai

Date of Incident: 1979

Place of Incident: Zayd-Abad, Mohammad Agha District, Logar Province.

I was only six months old when my father and uncle were arrested by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan Regime. One night, AGSA agents attacked our home and took away my father and uncle. They were accused of being Maoist and Akhwani (Muslim Brotherhood) members. My father was a nurse, and my uncle was just a farmer, and both had no political affiliations. Since there was no evidence or proof against them, we were hopeful they would be released within days. Only six years had passed from my parents’ wedding when my father disappeared.

To prevent any further arrests, my grandfather and uncle avoided taking food or clothes to my father and uncle and sent my youngest uncle instead. The last time my uncle visited them at the Logar Detention Center, my father had explained that they will be transferred to Kabul for further investigation and would be released after a few days. Unfortunately, when they were transferred to Kabul after eight days, they disappeared forever. My uncle was 45 and my father was only 33 years old. After my father disappeared, my mother started working as a tailor to support us. She never married again, waited for my father’s return and took care of us. My eldest sister was 5 years old, I was six months old, and my youngest sister was born only six months after my father disappeared. My maternal uncle helped a lot in the process and never gave up on us until we grew up.

To save my uncles from a similar fate, my grandfather took us to Pakistan. My uncle had left behind four children and we used to live together until nine years ago when we separated to two families. For 35 years, we lived in Pakistan, we suffered and struggled just to get daily food. Despite ongoing conflicts and continuing insecurity, we had to return to Afghanistan in 2013. Just a few months after our return, I heard that the Kingdom of Netherlands had published a list of 5,000 victims executed by PDPA regime between 1978 and 1979. I unfortunately found my uncle and father’s names in the list. I felt like I had lost my father all over again, the little hope we had for their return was shattered forever. But I had to stay strong to support and protect my mother who waited for almost 40 years for my father to return alive. In order to remember and revive their memories, I went/go to the Polygon area where their bodies were/are possibly buried in mass graves.

I added a few of their remaining belongings to the Memory Box to keep their memories alive and to let everyone know that we will never be able to forget our loved ones who disappeared and were killed by blind violence and political rivalry between just a few groups or individuals.

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