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IPS - The Mindlessness of War in Afghanistan | Inter Press Service

KABUL, Dec 30 2012 (IPS) - One night in 1979, bombs dropped from the sky, killing 16 members of Ismail's family. "The war took some people to Europe and America, but it destroyed my family," Ismail, who is universally addressed as "uncle", says.

Hailing from the Haska Mena district in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, he says his parents insisted he go to the only school in the district, in Shpole Baba. The times were tumultuous. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, and Babrak Karmal was installed the leader of the government in December 1979.

The new government's opponents set fire to Ismail's school. He remembers going up to the roof of his house to watch. "The fire destroyed my hopes of studying, and being a great man in the future," he sighs.

Ismail started to help his father on the land. "People in our village were surprised that I switched so quickly from being a school boy to a farm worker," he remembers, a soft smile on his face.

But the war was to change things again for Ismail. He remembers his father and he were ploughing the fields when six Soviet helicopters appeared in the sky. They circled the area three times, and then, suddenly, started firing. "They shot people in cold blood. Everyone was running helter-skelter. Our bulls broke free of the yoke in panic.

"My family (took shelter) in the village mosque. My grandmother who refused to leave was the only one in the house when I got there."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:10:02 PM EST
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