The Story of Zahra Mohammadi (sister)

Victims’ Names: Mir Ahmad and Gul Muhammad
Date of Incident: September 1998
Place of Incident: Qezel Abad, Mazar-e-Sharif

My older brother, Gul Muhammad had just gotten engaged when he was killed, and my younger brother’s dead body was annihilated. The night before my brothers were slaughtered, I was at my mother’s home. She had invited all my siblings for a dinner which was to be our last one together because the next day the Taliban attacked Qezel Abad and massacred all the men. Early in the morning, my two younger brothers had decided to harvest the wheat. I begged them not to go because the driver and my husband had been talking about the Taliban’s raid on Mazar-e-Sharif the night before. My brothers left anyway as they were confident the Taliban wouldn’t kill them because they were not part of any militia group. By lunch time, they filled their tractor twice and dropped the wheat home. When they left again after lunch, they never returned.
On that single day, 13 men from my family and my relatives were killed, including my two brothers, two nephews, two maternal uncles and five cousins. The Taliban who raided Qezel Abad and massacred civilians were mostly local people many of whom we knew. My older brother was killed in the lane close to our home. My nephew was helping his father with the harvest when the Taliban shot him. In the evening, they brought my other nephew’s body who was only 22 years old. We waited the entire night for his father to return but he, too, had been shot and killed in Kandahari Alley. The younger brother killed in another alley still had his prayer beads in his hand when he was killed. That night no man returned home.
My mother and I carried the bodies as there were no men to help. We buried three of my cousins in my grandmother’s yard. I also had to take care of my mother because she was in complete shock. Soon she became sick and passed away in Iran where we had taken her for treatment. I have also been sick and never able to regain normal life. My memory is shrinking, and day by day I am forgetting more of what exactly happened. I will never be able to overcome the trauma of that tragedy.

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