“I’m quite old and may not remain alive more than a few
days. I wish I could see end of war and start of peace before my death,” says
Sadiq Khan, 86, who lost his son, the only breadwinner
of family, Nasser Sadiqi, earlier in 2007. Contrary to the dominant sense of
revenge in the Afghan society, Sadiq Khan, with a deep sense of compassion,
expresses forgiveness for murderers of his son.
According to the Costs of War
project of the Watson Institute based in the US, 147, 124 people have been died
in the war in Afghanistan between October 2001 and October 2018. The report
further reveals that more than 38,000 of them are civilians.
Sadiq Khan, who is father of one of
those thousands dead in the war, has come to a conclusion that forgiveness and
avoiding revenge are key factors that make reconciliation possible and bring
about the peace. “There will be no peace until the warring parties do not forgive
each other and enter to a reconciliation phase,” he added.
Recalling sad story
In a sunny spring day in 2007, Khan’s
close relatives got together inside a mosque in Zahir Shahi neighborhood of
Kandahar province, birthplace of the Taliban, to inform Mr. Khan of his son’s
death. A day before that announcement, when a suicide bomber targeted convoy of
the former Afghan information and culture minister on May 17, 2007, Sadiq Khan
felt a deep fear of impending doom.
He was told that his son Nasser was
on a vacation in Arghandab district of the same province with his friends, but,
he found Nasser’s dead body ready in the morgue of the mosque, prepared to be
Against the common practice of
bursting into tears, Sadiq Khan just offered a blessing for his son and wished
him to rest in peace. Nasser’s death forced his younger brother, Ahmad, who
then was 25, to work and win bread for the family.
Born in 1982, then his father was a
military officer of Babrak Karmal’s government, Ahmad has been displaced to many
places inside Afghanistan and once to Pakistan. In 2001 when the Taliban regime
was toppled by the US army, a new horizon of hope glimpsed and Ahmad returned
to Kandahar. He enrolled in a school in Kandahar city.
But he never give up pursuing his
dream of getting education. Years later after the death of his brother, Ahmad,
restarted getting education and registered for taking university entrance exam
at age 36, and enrolled in a private university, studying political science. He
is currently passing the final exam of his third semester at the university.
Hope for peace
Khadim Hussain Karimi, Etilaat-e-Roz
senior reporter, met Mr. Ahmad at the People’s Dialogue for Peace Prospect, an
event organized by the United States Institute of Peace, in Kandahar city. As
Ahamd states, he has attended the dialogue to play his part in bringing about
peace and end the war in Afghanistan.
Sadiq Khan was watching a mid-day
news bulletin in his home when Etilaat-e-Roz’ reporter, met him. The news was
about a Taliban car bomb attack targeted a medical facility near Bagram Air
Base, the main American base north of Kabul that had killed two civilians and
wounded 80 others.
Sadiq Khan drew a meaningful
relationship between the airbase attack and the suicide bombing which took the
life of his son 12 years ago. “I lose my tranquility and think about sufferings
of victim’s families whenever hear a news about any attack through televisions,”
he said, adding that he could not sleep the whole night when the broadcasters
aired news of the attack in Bagram.
Having entered into a direct talks,
the United States and the Taliban are seemingly close to striking a peace deal
and the process would apparently enter into a new phase, more importantly to
intra-Afghan talks, after a ceasefire that would likely be announced by the
Taliban. This development in the US-Taliban talks would create an aspiration
which is mixed of hope and concern—hope for ending the war and concerns about
Taliban’s return to power.
The same concerns and hopes can be
seen in this war weary family as well. Only peace is not a matter of concern
for Ahmad. “Only striking the peace deal and bringing about peace is no
important. An enduring peace and end of war for ever is more important. The
Afghans need to ask themselves how they can guarantee the end of the war and
repair destructions left from 40 years of war and violence,” he asserted.
It took me ten years to recover
harms war left on my soul and on my family, Ahmad stated. Afghanistan was at
war for decades. Repairing destruction of this war needs many resources and
take a long time, he added.