Pajhwok Afghan News

A Kunduz widow, Bahara is struggling to feed children

KUDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): A woman, who lost her husband to recent fighting in northern Kunduz province, has been forced to shoulder responsibility for looking after her children.

Living in a rented house in the 2nd police district of Kunduz City, the widow told Pajhwok Afghan News her 45-year-old husband Syed Jan was a property dealer — the only source of the family’s income.

Now that the sole breadwinner is gone for good, the 40 years old has been struggling hard to feed her children, concerned about their future, education and security.

Taliban captured Kunduz City on Sept. 28, 2015 but the security personnel launched an operation three days later against the insurgents and recaptured the provincial capital step by step in about two weeks.

More than 180 civilians were killed, 330 others wounded and over 20,000 others displaced from the province to Kabul, Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.Some government and private offices were set afire and valuable looted.

On the fourth day of clashes, the woman’s family members were in urgent lead of bread. Her husband was obliged to come out of his house to bring bread for children, recalled Bahara, the widow of Syed Jan.

As tears rolled down her cheeks, she said: “On Oct. 2, security in Kunduz was not good, but my husband had to go to Bandar-i-Imam Sahib to bring bread from the only bakery shop there.”

A clash between security forces and militants erupted, wounding her spouse. At around 9am, relatives evacuated him to a city hospital.Later, he was shifted to the Afghan National Army (ANA) hospital where he died of his serious wounds.

Crying uncontrollably, the mother of two teenage daughters and a son said she had no option but to work as a cleaner in a media outlet. However, her salary cannot meet the basic needs of her family.

Her family was living in harsh economic conditions, the woman complained. The government recently assisted war victims, but she is yet to receive any help from the authorities.

Mohammad Syed, Bahara’s brother-in-law, said Jan’s economic situation was far from satisfactory. But after the death of his brother, Bahara is even poorer, finding it harder to feed her children.

“My economic condition is not stable either and hence my inability to help the widow of my brother. The government hasn’t aided the family and we are disappointedbecause the rulers could not do anything for themselves. How would they support families of victims?”

Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) DirectorMirAqaItibarsaid the government recently paid 50,000 afghanis to each victim family. However, many families are yet to be assisted.

A charitable organisation had promised supporting the remaining of households, but the pledge had not been honoured so far, the director explained.

Just like Bahara, dozens of other families living in miserable conditions are worried about their future and the uncertainty staring their children in the face.

Another woman, Khadija, also lost her husband in the clashes. She is the only person earning livelihood for her three sons and a daughter. Her eldest son is 12 years old, who cannot help his mother, brothers and sister.

Though she has received aid from government and nongovernmental organisations, yet her family remains in dire need of assistance. Her children cannot work to eke out a living.

“We have been survivingon assistancefrom the government and NGOs, but I don’t know what the future holds in store for us? I don’t know how to fund the schooling of my children, buy them food or clothes?

“My husband was responsible was looking after the family. But since his death, we have been grieving his loss and my children orphans,” she remarked.


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