Aida is 14 years old and her world has been irreparably damaged by the Taliban's brief takeover of nearby Kunduz in her home country of Afghanistan.
Aida is 14 years old and her world has been irreparably damaged by the Taliban’s brief takeover of nearby Kunduz in her home country of Afghanistan.

I live in a province in northeast Afghanistan near Kunduz, the city the Taliban attacked at the end of September. I have a cousin who is a radio journalist in Kunduz and my brother went to university there.

It has been a bad situation. Many of the families have fled their homes seeking safety in Kabul, the capital city, or Mazar e Sharif or another province. I cannot go to my school or the center where my college entrance exam study program takes place. Nobody is letting their daughters go to school or other places now because it is not safe. For instance, one day I took my books and I went to my school to catch up with my lessons but there was hardly anyone in the streets, especially not girls. I thought there would be many students when I went to school that day, but there were only two teachers and a cleaning woman. When they saw me and my sister they started laughing at us. I was so disappointed.

I asked one of my teachers why there were no students and if we could study. She said “You are crazy.” She said I should not come to school because the security situation is the worst ever. My sister and I left and went home. I miss my school and my classmates. I miss my lessons. I want my school to start again.

One of my brothers was studying computer science in Kunduz province. Fortunately he was not there when the Taliban started its war. He is very disappointed because he says there is no way that he can study computer sciences again since his university was completely destroyed. The Taliban turned it into an encampment.

Nowadays, after so many people have fled, there seems to be almost no one left in Kunduz. But it is not safe there either. When my father comes home we run and ask him about the situation outside because we cannot trust the news. They say the government took the province back from the Taliban. But this is not really true. My brother thinks about the university where he studied for three years and how he can give that up.

The Taliban threatened to kill my cousin who is a radio journalist once they found out there was a female journalist in Kunduz.

My cousin M. was living there with her mother, her sister and many cousins. Her father had died. After the threats, M. was very afraid because the situation in Kunduz was terrible. She and her family left Kunduz to come to my province for safety. But after two days she found that many districts here are not safe either and she must leave.

She and her mother and sister have now gone to Kabul where her grandfather lives. Her uncles were able to return to Kunduz province. But they have warned her not to come back because it is too dangerous for her. It is dangerous for all of us.