A day in an abandoned warehouse

The time was of the last days of 2001 in the unfortunate, war-torn lands of Afghanistan. Hafiz and Hamid, two brothers, the latter being 3 years older than the former, were playing in a verandah near the sitting area. Both in their teenage years, the only education they ever received was in a Hanafi madrasa. Except for the teachings in Hadith and the Holy Quran, they were also taught how to use an AK so that they could fight for Taliban which had already retreated from Mazar-i-Sharif in the North and was about to be defeated at Kabul as well.

“This is because that Arabi Osama attacked America”, they heard from their grandfather, drinking Kahwa, a kind of Tea popular in Central Asia and Kashmir. Their blind father immediately countered with – “The kafirs deserved it”. This was a time when sanity and morality were rare among men in Afghanistan. Attacks on the World Trade Center had happened just two months ago and American forces immediately started their revenge with air-strikes, cruise missiles and ground forces allied with non-Taliban warlords. One among them was Dostum. Dostum was from the north of Afghanistan where Tajiks and Uzbeks had more power whereas the brothers were from a village along the Durand Line – The Pak-Afghan border. The only thing he hated more than foreigners was Taliban and their orthodox, tyrannical grip on people in Afghanistan.

A pick-up truck, surrounded by men with swords and Kalashnikovs, dressed in all black was seen by Hafiz. The truck had a black flag with Shahada. These were the men of the Taliban. The convoy stopped in front of their home. A man came out of the truck and stormed into their home. The brothers knew what they wanted and immediately came to the sitting area where their father and grandfather were talking earlier. The man said in Pashtun – “We come because Mollah Omar has sent us to get the forces for defending Kabul ''. After Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul was the obvious target for the warlords and Americans. The grandfather knew he couldn’t save his grandsons. His son had already lost his mind when he was blinded by the Soviet forces when Russians attacked Afghanistan. Hafiz and Hamid, along with 37 other teenage boys from the village.

It had been a week since they last saw their family and Hafiz and Hamid now we’re in the main city of Kabul. The irregular drills and beheading of men and women that they saw on their first day were replaced by bullet fires and explosions in the second. The Taliban had fortified their positions but it did not take much time for the Uzbek Dostum to arrive with his force along with two other allied warlords. Knowing that Kabul would soon fall, the top leadership of Taliban at Kabul had already fled. After the horrors of fighting, the two boys did survive the last days of the siege. The Uzbeks were already in the city. Fearing for their lives, Hamid locked himself and his brother in a warehouse Taliban used for stockpiling weapons and bullets. Some Kalishnokovs were still lying but others were immediately transported to village bases when Dostum was still on his way to Kabul. They did not have food, water or anything. All they could hear was the Uzbek and Tajik words of the victorious forces. “Brother, I am hungry”. These words from Hafiz broke the silence in the huge room. It had been an hour since they locked themselves in. Nobody had noticed it yet. “When can we go outside? I want food. I want water.” Hamid replied with “Soon Hafiz, soon.” Hamid stood up to see if there were any windows in the warehouse. The only ones were too high for them to see anything outside.

Sarthak Sharma

Kreative Content Writer