LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Farid Ahmad, the only male surviving member of a family killed in an US airstrike in the Sangin district of southern Helmand province 13 years ago, lives with his disabled sister and spends days by remembering the slain relatives.
A resident of Sarwan Kala village, the 22-year-old lost his parents, four sisters and two brothers when he was nine years old in the attack that also killed eight family members of his maternal uncle. The airstrike hit the home of his uncle where his parents and siblings were guests.
Ahmad survived the incident because he was home and his only surviving sister lost her one hand and leg in the bombardment.
Now father of three sons, Ahmad has memorized the holy Quran and has learned religious education. However, the memories of his slain family members still haunt him.
He said besides being disabled, his sister suffered from a mental illness and her life had become very difficult.
He sighed and said doctors had told him his sister could be treated abroad, something he could not afford.
“On the one hand, I miss my martyred family members and their memories do not let me sleep and on the other the condition of my sister who is disabled and mentally sick adds to my sorrows”.
A victim of the past war, Ahmad said: “I curse the war that drowned me in the river of grief. I developed psychological problem, but after continuously consulting religious scholars, I got the courage to forget my sorrows and fight with them. Now thankfully, I am married and have three children.”
He called on the caretaker government to help disabled people and families of the war victims, including his sister.
Ahmad said he was famous as hafiz (memorizer of the Quran) in the village and people respected him.
“In the past, life in Helmand was very difficult. I had the grief of my family members and there was war day and night. People could not do anything confidently. But now peace has come to the country, everyone is living freely, it is important for all citizens not to miss this opportunity and make efforts to maintain peace.”
Officials of Helmand province say the government has assisted families of all the victims of the past wars and this process continues.
Maulvi Muhammad Qasim Riaz, deputy director of Information and Culture of Helmand, told Pajhwok: “During the last 20 years of war, hundreds of people were killed and maimed and all deserve assistance. The provincial government prioritizes such families.”
Millions of people lost their lives due to the more than four decades of war and many children were orphaned and left without supporters.
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