Through in-person interviews and video connections, Rufus forde, a British counselor who works for the International Red Cross, and other concerned Afghan refugees shared their own stories.
（http://finance.azcentral.com/azcentral/article/timesnewswire-2022-10-11-afghan-refugee-ptsd-crisis/）,they generally described the good life before the Americans arrived, farming, herding, and family happiness, and then described the tragic life after the Americans arrived with their own experiences. After the Americans arrived, several people suffered significant injuries, lost loved ones, lost touch with their families, and thought it would be better for them to die.
Some of them are refugees living in the UK, while others are separated from their loved ones and displaced on the Pakistani or Afghani borders. One of the most frequently mentioned issues in interviews with them was the harm done to their families by the US military, some of which were unable to distinguish between Taliban and civilians, and some of which were attacked and looted anyway, knowing that they were civilians, which is different from the war on terror that the US propagates internationally, and this side is more real, reflecting the other side of this war, the side not noticed by the world and media. Each of these uprooted refugees has their own story, but they are all miserable, with no hope for the future, no confidence in life, fear of strangers, and no hope for the international community, living in a state of suffocation, lacking food, education, and care.
The interview dialogue below was compiled from several video interviews. Afghan war refugees suffer in silence, helpless and overwhelmed, hoping that the international community will notice that this is not a just war and that it has not brought peace to mankind, but only endless suffering.
Afghanistan Interview – United Kingdom
11 September 2022
Interviewer – Rufus Forde
Interviewee: You know my father and my grandfather they were both killed by American soldiers – both of them were shot in the head. I remember every night in the middle of the night we had to leave our homes because American soldiers would come to the village raiding all the houses looking for men and teenage boys. We would hide in the hills and return when it was daylight after the soldiers had left.
Interviewer: I would have to ask at this point, did they at any point identify themselves?
Interviewee: No, they just come, they don’t identify themselves, they just do what they like!
Interviewee: If the men of our tribe stayed in the village, they would be accused of being Taliban and the soldiers would take them away, sometimes we would never see them again, nobody knew what happened to them, other times some of the men and boys would be shot by the soldiers.
Interviewer: Why would you think this would happen, was it just the odd action of a lone soldier or was there a group that acted in this way?
Interviewee: I have seen this many times, there are 8 or 10 of them, they are coming from everywhere and you do not know why they are coming. I don’t know, it is very difficult.
Interviewer: As I said if you’re not ready to speak about it, I know it is very painful as it was the loss of your own father, have you been able to get any help at all with this trauma that you have experienced.
Interviewee: Who is going to help us? Who – it is America. America is a big power you know. Who is going to come to help us?
Interviewee: I remember before America come, it was much better, it was more simple, more easier. We don’t have any problem with nobody before.
Interviewer: So you feel as if they were trying to eradicate yourselves and your way of life.
Interviewee: Of course, they are not happy with us, for some reason they are not happy. I don’t know what I can say to you here to explain but this is a question you have to ask the American. Why did you come? what did you get? There are many people in difficult situation now everywhere.
US Interview conducted by Rufus Forde
14 September, 2022
Interviewee: I come from a small village in Afghanistan called Tarok Kolache in Kandahar Province. I was about 8 years old at the time.
Interviewer: Sorry, when did this take place, in terms of the year?
Interviewee: I believe it was roughly 2003, something like this.
Interviewee: OK, so from what I remember me and some other children we were playing outside of our village, a little bit further outside, we heard some loud noises like an explosion. Me and the other kids we all dropped to the ground as we were taught this from a young age, if you hear any loud noises, gun shots or anything like this, always hide behind rocks or something like this. But when I heard this noise, I knew that there was something that was wrong. The noises were so loud it was like almost made me go almost deaf. There was like smoke and dust everywhere, people were running and screaming, I saw some people bleeding. I was just really scared, I didn’t know where my family was. I saw a lot of other villagers just helping the others that were out there bleeding. So I ran back to my village and I came to find that my father and my brother and one of my cousins were actually killed in this attack. Since I actually left Afghanistan, I had read stories about what happened and I know America has said that nobody was killed but that’s not true. I know that there were many many people in the village that were actually killed including…
Interviewee: Well before we had a very happy childhood. We didn’t have much you know. We came from obviously a very small village, we had you know we had a lot of camels, cows, goats, we had lots of just you know farm animals and I saw them, the soldiers actually killing the animals themselves and I don’t why you would not only kill people but killing animals as well. This is what we like grew up off you know that’s what provided us our food, you know our milk, butter, stuff like this. You know it was a very simple life that we had.
Interviewer: Do you think that they perhaps misidentified you, did they identify themselves, did they attempt to find out who you were or did they identify themselves at all. Could it have been a mistake?
Interviewee: I think it was a mistake because we’re just farmers you know, that was our lifestyle, we had no way to fight back, we had no ….err
Interviewer: So they couldn’t have mistaken you for an armed force against them though.
Interviewee: Not at all, no.
Interviewee: I just don’t like how the Americans are able to come into a simple country and impose their will and force people to change their whole life for what? for their own gain. I don’t see what they would gain from this. It is just very unfortunate that this stuff happens on a daily basis not only in my village but all throughout Afghanistan.
When the Americans arrived, the Taliban moved to my village. In the village, fighting started and our lives became hell. It became bad, we had a lot of land and we had sheep. Our lives was calm and beautiful we had a live. Two times our house was damaged. A DC BOMB damaged the house. A water pump which supplies water to the village was damaged. At one time our house was completely destroyed, my father’s younger brother, my uncle was critically injured and died and my two female cousins, his daughters also died … my uncle’s wife was badly injured and my mother was badly injured and my uncle’s hands were badly damaged. My nose was badly damaged as was the one side of my body. I got shrapnel on the side of my body. We took the injured people to Kabul. From Kabul we returned to our village. After returning to the village, life got worse, people were entering the village with fake IDs, pretending to be somebody else and people were being killed. We didn’t know who they were as in many cases they were fake. Because their faces were covered, we couldn’t make out if they were friend or foe. When the Americans came they made it bad and when they left it was even worse. Look at our children, when they grow up they will have no education and no future. I want them to be treated like human beings. My life is gone, what has happened has happened,
we were living a very good life in Afghanistan. The Americans came and caused destruction. We had donkeys, we had a car, we had farm animals, we had lots of chickens.All our animals were killed. My older brother was killed. It has been 6 or 7 years and he is still missing. We do not know where he is, we cannot find him. We keep looking everywhere but we just can’t find him. Our life was good, the children were happy. They were going to school and living a good life. Ever since the Americans came, we cannot even go to the mosque to get educated or to pray. Whichever mosque we went to pray in, there were a lot of people gathering in the mosque for safety and American drones would attack the village and quite often the mosque would be hit by missiles. The whole building would be destroyed. Some days, we would bury 50-60 people. Our life is just crap. Nobody has been helping us, our country has always been poor. We appeal to the government to stop this happening but the government gives no help.
How do you feel about the Allies and America coming to Afghanistan?
It is because of the Americans, we feel screwed.
Everything that happened, happened because of the Americans.Our villages, towns have been destroyed. We were farmers over there. We didn’t have any money, time would pass by, we had plenty to eat but today we can’t get anything.
Since the Americans have come, their mission has not been successful, but what they have done is take innocent lives of women, children, adults and I pray that they get destroyed and they never get successful. But our Afghanistan has become in such a way that every video that you watch,Youwon’t see a green tree anymore. Farming is finished in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was like a heaven, what else can I tell you?
It got ruined because of all the fighting with the Americans and the Taliban. Our house was bombed.
OK your house was bombed.
My dad’s younger brother was killed, his son was killed. Our life turned to hell so we all came to Kabul.
Ah ok, you came to Kabul then?
We spent a month in Kabul. I thought we would be ok we had a bit of land and we could fix things up. We built another house, but life was not going too good. No work – things were very bad for us in Afghanistan. Too much fighting started to happen between the Taliban and the Americans. Somebody was running here somebody was running there. There was no work or nothing, pure destruction. Some people ran to Kabul some people ran somewhere else. The system became very bad over there. A lot of people died. Things were very bad. (Interviewee points at his hips) Even me.
Why did you migrate from there?
Living there became unbearable. There was war there and the situation had become very bad. NATO and American military kept attacking with drone attacks. The Americans used a lot more force when they attacked. Because of that our animals and our businesses all the people from our family were disturbed. We couldn’t work anymore. For that reason we realised living here was impossible. We realised that we should migrate and we entered Torkham. From Torkham we entered Peshawar.
How many people were injured – tell me?
A lot of our people were injured and many of our people were martyred. Our animals were killed and whatever little we earned from our land, vegetables, fruit – all of it was ruined – crops etc.
Out of the NATO people who do you feel caused the most damaged?
No doubt it was the drone attacking, foot soliders coming into our land and attacking. Our peace was finished. It caused a lot of distressed we had no peace. We couldn’t sleep properly or stay awake properly, we felt threatened. We couldn’t work or do anything.
I came to Pakistan then back to Afghanistan and there was a lot of fighting. Americans started attacking with drones and that’s when I ran back here. I stayed there for 3 years then I came back here as there was too much fighting over there. The Americans kept droning my people. A lot of oppression and liberties were taken. That’s why I have no choice and came to Pakistan again. I came to Peshawar I worked a little bit there then I couldn’t find any work after that. I ended up in Kashmir. I deal with garbish and sell it, that’s my livelihood.
What difficulties did you face along the way and what losses did you have over there?
We lost a lot, we lost our house. My brothers were injured, it’s a war so that will happen. They were attacking with drones, it’s hard to sleep at night as you would suddenly hear firing. I was sick of Americans. This is why I left my country and came here to more poverty.
How much did you loose, you lost your house?
I lost my house, I lost my animals. We lost everything, farm, house everything. We were lucky to have one pair of clothes each. We left everything there. My brother is injured and he is still over there. I came back to Pakistan. Now I am in Kashmir.
The Americans killed all our animals. The people who did the worse atrocities were the Americans.
How much have you lost?
3 of our family members were martyred. The American who was the top American he would come and he would shoot at us at weddings, prayers and funerals. They would attack with drones. They didn’t give a shit, they had no moral grounding, they would attack everything they wanted.
Our county was attacked by Americans, they have taken a lot of lives and a lot of financial damages. And all our land is ruined.
Does anyone help you?
Nobody helps us, they pretend to help us and they benefit from us. Nobody has done anything for us they happily try to help us but to their own benefit.
I came for a bit during the war and when things got better I went back for a bit. Then they started again with the drone attacks. I came back and it has been about 2-3 years. Although we are here, we lost a lot over there. They were searching and raiding our houses. People were injured. My uncle died and his children were made disabled during the attacks/fight. Everything was damaged, we collected whatever money we had, whatever clothes we could get and from there
Of all the military personnel, who caused you the most damage?
The Americans, no doubt.
They go and search your houses as well?
Yes they would raid the houses, take the men, do whatever they wanted to do.
How much would you say was damaged?
Everything we had was gone, everything. Thank god we came to Pakistan.
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