When they imprisoned my 17 year old brother, he denied membership of any political party, but they used horrible types of physical torture on him, some of which he told us about later. He is still suffering from that trauma. He lives in [names country] now and has never visited Afghanistan again and never will do. Women that were imprisoned were tortured, raped and then either killed or released.
Some of them talked about it and some we would heard from other people. The staff of the KhAD prisons were also bragging about it in public. Quite a lot of those women either died as a result of torture or later killed themselves. A young woman I became friends with at university, much later, when Dr Najib was president, told me a little. She would go quiet and start weeping quietly every time she touched on her time in prison. They buried her quietly. She was very strong when she spoke to me. She was trying to recruit me to their political party because she had seen me talking in public and arguing with the KhAD people at university.
I was threatened a few times and then I was afraid, so I knew how far I could go — only as far as they would not imprison me. Khalq Party supporters started to promote the red flag and deliver speeches in schools and in pro-Khalq gatherings in the city. Shortly after, red flags were put in government offices. It was calm, but everyone was worried about insecurity.
After a few weeks, Khalq members, together with the police, started to search particular houses. I remember a few influential people from our area were arrested and accused of opposing the revolution. A week after the coup, they started arresting people.
Prelude to revolution
Senator Habibullah Khan from Helmand, along with 12 other khans tribal elders , was arrested and taken to Kabul by plane. They never arrived. Instead, they were thrown from the plane and were killed. Farmers, who were organised Khalqis, got six acres of cultivable land.
Later, Kajaki district also became restive. He married a girl by force. You think this Khalqi government will prevail. There is still a long way for you to reach your goals. The next day, a friend who was working for AGSA [the name of the Khalqi intelligence agency] told me to disappear or I would be arrested.
I went to Kabul, but was so bored I came back to Helmand after a month. I told my father I should become a soldier in the government because there was no other alternative — my father was a khan and we were being targeted.
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I became a soldier in Paktia province. They sentenced me to death and I was waiting for my turn.
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I was to be released. I was in shock.
Still to this day, I do not know who that man was. I was released the next day. I remember that when [President] Taraki went missing, people complained about why he had disappeared. They wanted to know the hospital where he was supposedly under treatment. People said that it was when Amin and his government came under pressure from the people that they killed Taraki. After this, different news spread from person to person: some said Taraki had been killed in an underground room of the presidential palace; some said Amin supporters had put a pillow over his mouth and he suffocated — all sorts of different stories.
I remember that, after his death, the government people brought his body at night and buried it in an area called Qul-e Abchakan in Kabul. I went there myself and saw a place where people had been doing some work. I saw a newly dug grave. But no-one knows clearly whether his body was moved or not. From then onward, Amin did a lot of brutal things to local people including with the help of the then chief of intelligence, Assadullah Sarwari.
Later, when Hafizullah Amin got into power, the Russians suspected him of having relations with the Americans. That was the reason they brought Babrak Karmal back from Russia and made him president. I remember that day. There was a lot of Russian firing and shelling in Kabul. I was in the Pul-e Kheshti area and the Russians fired several rockets at the city. When Karmal got power, my friends and I went to the presidential palace to congratulate him on his new position.
His supporters had him on their shoulders, most of them Parchamis, and very happy. When they got the power, they started arresting Khalqis. After a couple of weeks, I went, along with my sisters and other relatives. The trunks of trees were tainted with blood. On most of the walls, I could see bullet holes. There were crowds of people and most of those I saw were very sad about the situation, seeing the bullet holes and other signs of destruction.
What a War With Iran Would Look Like
There was a smell in the Arg, a smell of blood or… I cannot name it specifically. The atmosphere was silent and everyone was terrified. Some people were crying. Some months after the coup, things calmed down and everyone was going to school again and the government officials were back at work. The communists had announced their new cabinet and system of government. But slowly, the situation became terrifying because people were being hunted down and suppressed. Government people were following people, scrutinizing who was with the government and who against.
Most of the investigations were taking place in schools, universities, government offices, mosques and madrasas. They had spies everywhere. He was engaged to a girl, but not yet marred. He was young, about years old and emotional and hot-blooded. After the coup, he took part in the protests against the government. The government people identified him and started following him. My oldest brother told him to be careful because the communists were ideologically committed and expert in pursuing people.
Ibrahim was not alone — there were other students who shared his thinking. He would stay for longer on Thursday evenings at the university cafeteria. One day, about five months after the Saur Revolution, he left home a bit late and asked my mother for some money. He said as it was a Thursday, he might return a bit late. My mother asked him to come and do some work at home and Ibrahim said that he would do it on Friday. She gave him Afghanis.
He said goodbye to her. And that was his last goodbye. That evening, we waited for him till late. The next day, a neighbour knocked at our gate and came in. As soon as she entered, she said her husband Anwar, who worked in the government, had also not returned the previous night. My elder brother and other relatives went several time to different prisons of Afghanistan, but our efforts were in vain.
We failed to find any clue about my brother. It was not only him. About six families in our neighbourhood lost family members and they are still missing. They included Anwar, our neighbour, who left behind his wife and their children.