Victims’ Names: Ghulam Sakhi Rustami, Ahmad Zia Rustami,
Ahmad Jawad Rustami, Ahmad Farid Rustami, Ahmad Zubair Rustami
Date of Incident: 1979
Place of Incident: Pul-i-Charkhi, Kabul
We were living in Chardihi area of Kabul when the 1978 Saur Revolution happened. We had a peaceful life until a few months later when one night around 01:00AM someone knocked at the door. When my father opened the door, he found our house was surrounded by AGSA (Department for Safeguarding the Interests of Afghanistan) who forcefully entered the house. Everyone woke up and came to the yard to see what was happening. After making my father and four brothers stand in a line and taking their pictures, they arrested them and took them away.
My father was 54 years old when he was arrested. When they were taking him away, he asked my mother for his coat and dentures, but they forcefully pushed him into the car. He knew then he would never return. When my father and brothers were arrested, I was still a child, studying the eighth grade of school. For five days, our house was locked down by the security forces, no one could leave or enter the house. They never returned and yet my mother never stopped waiting until her last breath.
My father, besides working with the Ministry of Public Health, was a political activist and had founded a student movement. He and his friend Akseer were the only survivors of that movement and Akseer had escaped Kabul. Almost 2000 members of that student movement disappeared and were slaughtered in Pul-i-Charkhi prison. My father was also an elder in the Chardihi area. He was kind and courageous and was usually asked to resolve disputes.
After he was gone, we lived a difficult life. We were displaced to Pakistan during the Civil War but had to return as we couldn’t cope there. My mother had to protect and take care of all of us all on her own. After years of poverty, suffering and hardships, she passed away in 1995 while still waiting for my father and brothers. For many more years, we did not know what had happened to my father and brothers but never lost hope for their return. Until one day in 2013, we were informed of a newly-released list of 5,000 victims slaughtered during 1978-1979 by the Communist Regime. We found their names on that list. I had hoped they had killed one or two of them so that at least some might be alive but I was wrong. They spared none.
When we went to the Polygon area of Pul-i-Charkhi Prison, I had a paradoxical feeling, a frustrated relief. I was happy because we had finally heard of them but I was sad knowing we had lost all of them at once without a chance to meet again. At first when walking on the graves, I felt any of these could be my father or brothers’ but then an officer indicated a hilltop where students, university lecturers and staff were reportedly buried in. They were/are now under that hill, together.