The Story of Rahmatullah Safi (son)

Victim’s Name: Lal Jan
Date of Incident: 1979
Place of Incident: Khost Province

My name is Rahmatulalh. Lal Jan was my father. I was born in 1976, three years before he disappeared. We are from the village of Qala-e-Tak in Shiwa district of the Province of Nangarhar province. My father was born in 1947 and finished his primary school at the Said Jamaluddin High School. Due to severe poverty, he could not continue high school so he joined the Military School to earn a livelihood for the family. He became junior officer and started working with the army. In 1965, he was sent to Khost Division where he worked until he disappeared 14 years later in 1979.
He was a critic of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and denounced the regime for torturing and killing innocent civilians and its political opponents. One day, after he had finished his prayers and left the mosque, my faher was arrested by the AGSA agents waiting outside the mosque. We waited until late at night for his return. In the early morning, my grandfather went to the Division to find out more but there was no sign of him. We had to leave Khost and return to the Shiwa District in the Province of Nangarhar. My grandfather went to Kabul, visited officials in the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense and the AGSA to find him but failed. He tried all viable options and sought help from the PDPA officials but it didn’t work.
My father was 32 years old, the only son, and the greatest supporter of our family. After he disappeared, we sold our ten acres of agricultural land to keep searching for him and to provide living for the family. We had nothing left after that and struggled with extreme poverty as we were merely children. My grandfather could not accept his son’s death so he kept waiting for him until his last breath. Extreme poverty and the absence of our father also profoundly affected my two younger brothers. Due to economic and psychological pressures, they lost their patience and became mentally ill. They would always ask about him and suffered from having to live a destitute and starving life. My mother got depressed and ill after my father’s disappearance and suffered terribly from seeing our situation.
I added my father’s remaining belongings to the Memory Box to keep his memories alive and to let everyone know that killing the father in a family is actually no less than massacring the entire family.

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