On a day when autumn’s gold light bathed the coastal campus of Kabul University, its warm rays slanting through classrooms’ spacious windows, the very first day of a course on peace and conflict settlement began.
Within this sort of instant, so full of chances, you can almost forget that it was only another evening in a nation steeped in warfare.
“You’re beginning the fifth term on your bachelor’s level so act appropriately,” Professor Sayed Rateb Mozzafari counselled his course packaged with some 50 young Afghan students. “Try not to get hit by a vehicle,” he cautioned in a teasing tone.
Freshta Hashimi, 20, leaned across her desk and whispered with a wink to her classmate,”He’s forgotten about suicide strikes”.
At the end of that afternoon, at least 22 were dead, including college professors and students, along with dozens more wounded throughout a barbarous six-hour siege that started with a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a campus gate.
Networking captionGunshots heard as pupils Attempt to escape at the Kabul University
Security forces fought to finish this bloody attack on 2 November, maintained by Islamic Condition militants, on Afghanistan’s biggest and oldest college, a leafy compound that has educated and motivated poor and rich, from throughout the nation, for decades.
“I cried’jump from this window or you will perish’,” Freshta, a part of this university student council, remembered crying as gunfire ricocheted across the corridors and to classrooms, along with grenades were lobbed to rows of desks by gunmen prowling the halls.
From the frenzied hurry to flee, just two of Freshta’s closest friends were the last to leap in the first floor windows. They did not make it.
Ziba Ashgari drew her final breath as she clung to her body slumped on the window ledge.
“Ziba had just got engaged and she was constantly saying,’One day I will be a diplomat’,” Freshta explained. “And Haseena has been the most intelligent woman in our group.”
We talked a couple of days following the assault, which sent shock waves around Afghanistan and outside – even in a time when Afghans are dying and living in regular violence. Every narrative of a lifetime taken that afternoon is a chronicle of a fantasy ruined, a fire and possible murdered.
Production of trust targeted
The narrative of these victims is that the narrative of the Afghan twenty-somethings, the generation which came of age following the US-led invasion of 2001, whose memories of Afghanistan’s civil war of the early 1990s, along with the brutal Taliban rule that followed, are just anecdotes told and retold by grandparents and parents.
“They are the creation of contractors and change manufacturers who will help cure our society if peace comes, since they did not live through these times,” explained Shaharzad Akbar, who heads Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.
“They discuss artificial intelligence, they discuss life on Mars, they discuss climate change. They have the capability to increase our discourse, to move it outside sensitive political matters, to talks about being a part of the worldwide family,” he explained.
In a state where some 70 percent of the populace is below the age of 25, this demographic is the near future. Even families of small way invest in higher education.
The day following the Kabul assault, protests erupted on provincial university campuses. Even in districts that are conservative, youthful people brandished placards emblazoned with slogans:”Killing Students Kills the Future;””Attacks on Pupils are un-Islamic.”
Picture captionVigils and protests were held following the pupils were murdered
Nobody sees this raw possible more obviously than educators, such as Sami Mahdi, a lecturer at Kabul University’s Department of Public Policy and Public Administration, which bore the brunt of this attack. He paid psychological tribute to 16 of his students, one after another, in poignant pencil pictures on his Twitter account.
There was 24-year-old Ahmad Ali with dark piercing eyes, the book lover who”nearly daily after class used to come after me personally and inquire his sharp concerns”.
Roqia was recalled for her”calm face and tender grin,” that the fourth-year pupil who taught in a primary school to encourage her”humble working household”.
Sohaila was the pupil whose query in the previous course had to be trimmed short to conserve time because of his lecture.
“I wish I hadn’t ever stopped you speaking,” wrote Mr Mahdi, who also heads the Kabul bureau of Azadi Radio. “The chance to follow you is obtained from us .”
That post contained a picture of Sohaila in pitch black headscarf and glowing white lady, peering intensely throughout her curved dark spectacles.
However, the picture which electrified Afghan societal websites that afternoon revealed Sohaila, sprawled face down on the ground in her plain black and white attire, a red red novel about Simon Bolivar, the South American radical, splattered with blood.
It was among several searing pictures which juxtaposed a fire to learn along with a powerful killing system: a cracked pencil along with an empty bullet casing; an open publication smeared with blood; a shattered clock on a classroom wall peppered with bullet holes.
“Every time I’d gone to class, I felt challenged by their own guts, dedication and talent for their nation and their schooling,” Sami Mahdi explained in a dialogue punctuated by psychological pauses.
“This generation is very, very different from another generation in our history. From day one, they have grown up in a really different environment, when there was freedom of elections, expression, social networking, and also the capacity to talk openly about politics along with some other societal and cultural problems.”
Picture captionMohammad Rahid needed his life before him, but died aged 22
Among his articles which touched the deepest chord was a brief video with a charismatic pupil with twinkling eyes and a hot, broad grin. “We must live regardless of what life brings,” Mohammad Rahid encouraged fellow students within his rousing pep talk. “Do not forget to smile.”
However a creation which jumped in the beginning blocks today finds itself being hauled back from the ending line.
Who is to blame for the assault?
“Once I listened to this movie about living with a grin, I thought he is not just speaking about something elaborate but something fundamental – that the right to life,” explained Shaharzad Akbar of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.
“All sides of the war are still failing in their obligation to protect civilians who shouldn’t ever be a goal in war – not.”
Networking captionIs peace with the Taliban potential?
At a reminder that a new creation isn’t immune in the politics of yesteryear, a vitriolic blame game is currently eclipsing the despair.
Young twenty-something Afghans funding the Taliban, a few residing in Taliban-controlled districts, have wielded their societal networking reports to point an accusing finger in the government they accuse of working using”evil components”.
“The assault on Kabul University is that the job of the enemies of Islam, peace and the light of understanding,” tweeted 26-year older Anas Haqqani, the youngest son of the late Jalaluddin Haqqani whose Haqqani system, which currently forms part of the Taliban, was blamed for a number of the worst attacks on civilians.
“IT IS THE WORK OF THE TALIBAN,” Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh published in strong funding letters on social networking, dismissing claims of duty from the Islamic State (IS) group, also depicting the attack for a strategy like those utilized from the Haqqani network.
“This war must stop,” insisted Sami Mahdi. “That may be the only real condemnation of the brutality.”
Picture captionThe video supposedly retracting the IS claim is thought to be imitation
For the time being, speculation runs . Could it be that the extremist IS, which has boasted of assaulting schools previously, such as a tuition center in the capital only last month? Four decades back, it had been suspected Taliban attackers who stormed the Kabul campus at the American University of Afghanistan. Or would that have been an insider attack, helped by Islamists from in the college ?
Afghans are trying hard to understand how, in this type of war, naive university students may be murdered in cold blood.
“They are fearful of schooling, they are frightened of us because we’re studying,” insisted fourth-year economics pupil Jamshid Roshangar. “We’ll keep fighting together with our pencils and books and fresh thoughts.”
‘that I Won’t Ever feel the same’
However, the increasing numbers of young Afghans turning to smugglers to discover a means out also illustrates to their despair and fear. On a visit to Greece in September, the BBC reported how youthful Afghan men currently dominate the tide of young migrants decided to choose what’s called the Balkan path to achieve a European nation which could provide another opportunity in life.
Networking captionHas Greece become more aggressive to migrants?
“My friends in Kabul University told me that it had been great I left,” one young Afghan we met at September to a southern Greek island informed me in a WhatsApp message. He is currently in northern Greece, near his next destination, the North Macedonian border.
Borders are closed, and obstacles are currently multiplying, on each step along the way, but youthful Afghans keep striving.
“No one is secure here in Afghanistan, maybe not in the classroom,” Jamshid Roshangar confessed.
“I wish to go overseas to continue my education but I also need to return to make Afghanistan great.” He also added,”not good again, as President Trump could say, since we have never been good and that is why we have to keep our education.”
Picture captionJamshid Roshangar can not sleep for thinking of his buddy who had been murdered
“Education is the weapon which may change the entire world,” acknowledges Kabul University’s web site. However, a creation armed with knowledge is currently facing its toughest test.
Jamshid still can not sleep at night since his head is still filled with his friend Mohammad Ali Danish, who had been shot dead through his law course while Jamshid managed to run for his life from his economics lesson. “Ali and I had exactly the exact same dream and I can’t believe I will not see him ,” he explained.
Freshta Hashimi also awakens in the middle of night. “I have seen things I never believed I’d see and I won’t ever feel the same as I visit the college,” she explained. “Now we’re the wood from the fire of the war.”