Trevor Keck is CIVIC’s field fellow, based in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is assessing Afghan National Security Force preparedness to protect civilians after NATO and its allies withdraw.
A few weeks ago, I wrote briefly about my trip to Jalalabad, a city in eastern Afghanistan, where I researched civilian casualties. I spoke to numerous Afghan officials and more than a dozen civilians harmed by warring parties in Afghanistan.
The next posts are what I heard from some victims of the conflict in Afghanistan. I’ll start today with Tahir’s story as told to me by his father.
Tahir and his family live in a very rural part of Nangarhar province, situated in eastern Afghanistan between Kabul and the Pakistani border. Tahir is eleven years old and, until recently, loved going to school and playing cricket with his friends.
About two weeks before I spoke to him, Tahir set out to visit his father – a farmer – who was tending to his fields at the time. He never made it there. On his way, Tahir stepped on a roadside bomb, presumably set by the Taliban or another armed group. The blast knocked him out and even now, Tahir barely remembers what happened. After the explosion, local villagers who saw the incident rushed him to the hospital in Jalalabad, where I interviewed him.
When I met him, he was in a lot of pain and heavily medicated, suffering wounds on his right arm, his legs and his stomach. Thankfully, the doctor at the hospital told me he was stable and the physical wounds would heal. What kind of mental trauma Tahir will suffer remains to be seen.
Tahir was in a lot of pain so he didn’t talk much. But his father told me that his son doesn’t like the hospital and “just wants to go home.”