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Abdul Bari, Afghanistan: “I go to school risking my life and my parents’ lives”

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October 28,  2007 (IRIN) – LASHKARGAH, Abdul Bari, 13, and his two brothers have had to leave their home in Nad Ali District and rent a room in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, in order to go to school. Taliban insurgents have attacked and closed down over 100 schools in different parts of Helmand Province, including one in Abdul Bari’s village that he used to go to. Abdul Bari told IRIN about the problems he faces in his quest for education.

“My father is a doctor and wants us to be educated and become doctors and engineers. After the Taliban burnt a school in our village and told villagers to send their children to Madrasas in Pakistan for their education, my father sent us to Lashkargah to continue our studies.

“We have rented a room in a market [in Lashkargah]. It’s so noisy here that I can’t concentrate on my studies. I’m also scared because I see people from my village that come here to buy things and I’m afraid that when they see us going to school they will tell other villagers and that will endanger our parents.

“My family can’t move to Lashkargah and live with us because our home, our land and our cows are in our village and they can’t abandon everything.

“I miss my parents. I haven’t seen them for over three months now. We wanted to go to our village for the recent Eid holiday but we changed our plans after a dreadful incident occurred.

“One of our classmates, who was coming from Musa Qala District, was identified by the Taliban on his way to Lashkargah by bus. The Taliban cut his neck and wanted to kill him but passengers on the bus begged them not to and so saved his life. He’s now in a hospital in Lashkargah. When I visited him there he cried and said he missed his classmates and school. But he said he couldn’t come back to school because the Taliban made him swear that he wouldn’t go to school again.

“The Taliban have also told people in rural areas not to send their children to schools in Lashkargah or they will kill them. The Taliban say schools drive Muslims to profanity and Christianity. I know this is untrue… but people are frightened by their threats. Some people have stopped their children from going to school.

“My father says we should continue our education even if the Taliban kill him. My father says gaining knowledge is good and will secure our future. He says it’s better to die while gaining knowledge than die illiterate.

“I want the Americans and other foreigners to defeat the Taliban and restore peace and security in our village and in all our country so that we can go to school freely and without fear.“

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Written by afghandevnews

October 29, 2007 at 3:40 am

Posted in Education, Security

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