Roadside bombings in Maidan Wardak province

How roadside bombings fuel revenge and devastate lives?

“Make me an axe and let’s break the Taliban into pieces,” Rajab, who is eight years old and has lost his father, mother, sister, and brother in a roadside bomb explosion, repeatedly asks his uncle, Rahmatullah Muradi, after hearing the news.

The sense of revenge, which Rajab carries after the tragic incident, is surely a shared feeling of hatred of dozens children, youths, and adults who have lost family members and relatives in blasts, crossfires, and airstrikes raged on daily basis across Afghanistan. Perhaps, this feeling of revenge is what stimulates the Afghan war and portraits how prospect of a sustainable peace could be dark in the country, if the war victims are ignored and their demands are not addressed in the ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks with the Taliban.

11 members of Muradi’s family and their relatives were killed in two separate roadside bombings on Tuesday, October 20, in Jalrez district of Maidan Wardak province.

Ali Hussain Muradi, Rahmat’s elder brother, had moved his five-membered family to Kabul around five months ago. Ali Hussain leaves Kabul along with his wife, a son, and a daughter on October 20 around 04:00 AM to attend the Chehilum – 40th day after death – ceremony of a relative in Waras district of the central Bamyan province.

Their relatives have already taken the required preparations in Bamyan and are all ready to receive Ali Hussain family by noon to have the launch together.

Chartering a white-colored minibus, Ali Hussain family leaves Kabul earlier in the morning but the highway crossing through Maidan Shahr, capital city of Maidan Wardak province, is slowly getting traffic jams. But the driver makes its way through the traffic jams and pass by Maidan Shahr. Inside the minibus they are talking of what to do in Bamyan. It’s almost ten minutes that they have passed by Maidan Shahr and see an empty road ahead. Explosives planted under a bridge immediately goes off and throws the minibus into air. The huge explosion ripes through the silence dominated the Death Valley – a name given to the valley for many deadly incidents occurred over past years.

Rahmatullah, who is left in Kabul along with his father, mother, and Ali Hussain’s youngest son, Rajab, tried many times in the morning to call his brother but Ali Hussain is not reachable on phone. He falls asleep again. His maternal uncle, Haji Hussain, calls him around 06:00 AM of that morning. “The minibus has collided in Jalrez. I and Ismail are going there. You may stay home,” he tells Rahmatullah and then hangs up. Rahmatullah gets extremely worried.

Haji Hussain and Ismail, Rahmatullah’s paternal cousin, leave Kabul for Jalrez with their own car and get speedily close to the incident site. A hundred meters away from the blown up minibus, the car also hits a roadside bomb and thrown into the air. Of the huge blast, Haji Hussain and Ismail are dismembered with body parts of the two fallen around. This way, a second powerful blast breaks the silence of the Death Valley.

Roadside bombing in Maidan Wardak
The car carrying Haji Hassan and Ismail was hit 100 meters away from the first incident site

I tried to meet Rahmatullah who was at Ataturk Hospital. But the hospital authorities did not allow me to enter. Rahmatullah got out and we went to a less-busy area. His eyes had gotten red and could not walk in a normal way. Extreme cries, sleeplessness, and anxiety were very obvious on his face and eyes.

He blames the local security forces for the tragic incident. “The security forces had opened the road while they were aware that the street was planted with landmines. The government has turned into a dangerous murderer who massacre the people on a daily basis,” Rahmatullah said.

When Rahmatullah is informed of the calamity and the incident, he heads towards Jalrez in coordination with some MPs. When they arrive at incident site, they find that some dead bodies are missing and ask the local security forces for help. “Do find the dead bodies by your own. This is not our duty,” Rahmatullah quoted the local security forces as responding to their call for help. “We couldn’t find all the dead bodies in the first day. The dead body of my nephew, Sajjad, was missing,” Rahmatullah said while tears rolling down his face and a painful lump in his throat. “Sajjad’s body was thrown hundreds meter away from the incident site. We found it with difficulty.”

Rahmatullah Muradi has lost 11 members of his family in two separate roadside bombings in Maidan Wardak

Rahmatulah, 23, who is a graduate of computer science, says that his whole life is devastated and is worried how to manage the family affairs. “My brother would manage all the affairs previously,” he says while a clear sense of sorrow is momentarily dominating him retelling the story. “I lament for I could not leave here that day with my [maternal] uncle and [paternal] cousin,” Rahmatullah says, adding that he has neither the motive for work, nor the reason to live.

As Rahmatullah states, his mother and father have totally broken after the incident for they lost their six loved ones. Though Rahmatullah is asking for justice, he is completely disappointed and lost hope on the government. “We do not expect anything from the government. The government has no power. I am sure that the government does not have the ability to work for it. Our people are being sacrificed for years.”

Two hours after Rahmatullah told this story, 24 people, mostly teenage students not aged beyond 25, were killed and 57 others wounded in a suicide bombing that targeted Kawsar-e-Danish tuition center in the west of the capital Kabul.

This story has been developed by Etilaatroz’s Abas Asadiyan and translated into English by Mokhtar Yasa.