Victim’s Name: Zawar Ali Azimi
Date of Incident: May 5, 1997
Place of Incident: Behsud District, Maidan Wardak Province
I do not remember the exact details of how my father lost his life because I was only 10 years old. On that day, the Taliban had raided villages, brutally killing innocent civilians including children and women. People from neighbouring villages had sought refuge in our village, some unable to even save their children. When the Taliban arrived, my father had welcomed them and tried to discourage them from killing civilians especially the women and children and had offered the people’s obedience in return. They had not listened to him, ignored his status and benevolence, and had gunned down both him and my uncle. My father only wanted to prevent further killing of innocent civilians but to the Taliban, the Hazaras were infidels that had to be wiped off the God’s earth.
As far as I remember, war has never stopped in Afghanistan. It took my father and uncle from us and made us flee our homes and leave everything behind. My father was a Mullah (Clergyman) and an elder of the village. He used to negotiate and mediate disputes between people in Behsud District of the Province of Maidan Wardak. When he was alive, we lived a happy life together and were exposed to hardships and misery of life less often. Since he was killed, my three sisters, my brother, and I have suffered a lot of psychological, social, and economic hardships. My mother suffered the most as she had to bear every problem and challenge to protect us.
To escape from hunger and violence, we fled to Pakistan and then to Iran. Even though life in Iran was a little better than Pakistan, we still faced discrimination, racism and restrictions enacted by the government there. We were not allowed to go to school and always feared being deported. After a few years, we returned to Afghanistan. Despite losing my father, uncle and many other family members, I still prefer living in Afghanistan in the hope that one day peace could prevail and overcome this hideous war.