By: Sherin Yousufy
Husnia Rezai was in a passenger bus, chatting with her friend, Aqila Abassi, about their Eid plans in the evening of April 30, a day before Eidul-Fitr, when the world around them collapsed, and they suddenly found themselves in the middle of a carnage.
The bus was targeted by a powerful magnetic bomb explosion. The Taliban said one woman was killed and eight were wounded in the explosion but witnesses said the number of casualties were higher.
Rezai was wounded in the leg and chest, and Abbasi in the right leg. They both live in constant fear after experiencing the most horrific incident of their lives.
“When I pass by Dehbori to see the doctor, every moment I feel the vehicle explodes. I hear people screaming,” said Rezai, 26. “I am scared of getting into the vehicle or leaving it.”
“I see nightmares during the night. The incident keeps repeating itself in front of my eyes,” she added.
Dehbori is a neighborhood in west Kabul where the explosion happened. Like most other attacks in Shia Hazara neighborhood of west Kabul, the ISIS terror group claimed responsibility of this explosion too.
Abbasi said she is under treatment in the Emergency Hospital where she has gone under five surgeries. She said she cannot go to the bathroom or wear her clothes without someone’s help. The physical pain of her injury has been excruciating, but it is the psychological suffering which bothers her more. She said she cannot forget the explosion scene even for a moment.
“Everything changed in the blink of an eye,” Abbasi, 30 said.
Abbasi and Rezai worked for a World Food Program project, distributing food for the poor families. Rezai said she continued working, despite the threats women faced after the Taliban takeover.
“But now I am worried about how to get out of the house, and how to get in the car,” she said.
“It is more painful to see my loved ones suffer for me,” she said. “I am an inconvenience for a family of nine.”
“I hope to be able to stand on my own feet one day,” she added. Rezai still needs help when she stands up or sits down. Her leg has been operated on but doctors have told her it was risky to remove a shrapnel from her chest.
Many thought the attacks, like the one which wounded Rezai and Abbasi, would end after the Taliban seized power last August. But they continue unabated. Mosques, buses, and schools have been targeted in the past ten months. Each attack leaves shattered victims behind — like Rezai who said she feels “depressed and isolated” after the attack.
According to the World Health Organization 17 percent of Afghanistan’s population suffers from mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, due to the four decades of conflict in the country.
Despite the traumatic incident she experienced, Abbasi said she has no plan to leave Afghanistan or give up working.
“I will stand up and continue again,” she said, “I accept this incident as part of my life.”