SHARANA (Pajhwok): The sole breadwinner for eight widows and 16 orphaned children in southeastern Paktika province is facing severe financial and other problems, but he hopes the establishment of peace will resolve their problems.
Aslam Shah, actual resident of Janikhel district, has been living in a rented house in Sharana, the provincial capital, for the past six years. Aslam Shah, his brothers and cousins had served in the national and local police forces to ensure stability of the system and security of people and the country.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Aslam Shah said his two brothers and six cousins had been killed in the ongoing conflict, leaving behind eight widows and 16 orphans, of whom he was the sole breadwinner. “We are in dire straits, but if peace comes, I will go back to my village and educate all these children,” he said.
He said he fled Janikhel to Sharana after eight members of his family were killed, but he was still serving in the JaniKhel local police force. Aslam Shah added that his salary was not enough for so many people, so he has asked the children to collect garbage and other items in the city and then sell them make a living. “One thing bothers me the most, the widows always ask me when they are going to the village, but I tell them they can’t go to the village until peace comes otherwise they will live a miserable life,” he said.
He said that he usually listened to the radio in the hope that one day he would hear news about ceasefire and peace. “If peace comes and the bloodshed of our people is stopped, I will go to my village and will forget all my bitter memories and will start a peaceful life,” he said.
Shah asked government officials, Taliban and the international community to work for a stable and dignified peace in Afghanistan. A widowed woman from Aslam Shah’s family said that she lost many of her family members while many others had been injured.
“My husband was killed, my son was killed, other members of my family were killed, please stop this war for the sake of God,” she said. Amina, a 12 years old girl from the family said that she had heard the word ‘peace’ but never lived in it. “Yes I know peace, it means that people live safe when there is no war, if peace comes I will go back to my village, I can no longer collect garbage in the city,” she said.
On the other hand, Paktia police chief, Col. Lotfullah Kamran said that he had assisted the family with cash and food items and recruited Aslam Shah in the Afghan Local Police. He said that Aslam Shah received the benefits of his family members killed in war besides his salary and it helped him to have a good livelihood. The decade’s long conflict in Afghanistan has taken the lives of thousands of people that widowed large number of women and orphaned many children.