Dordana and her children were among 235 people abducted by an armed group from Mirza Olang valley of Sayyad district on 4 August 2017. Thousands of people fled their homes that day. Dordana and her family were released on 8 August 2017, but over 70 were summarily executed.
When armed militants advanced further into the area, Dordana and hundred other men, women and children tried to escape the village. They walked in the dark for almost two hours, but the armed group cut off their route and stopped them from reaching safety in the provincial capital.
“They separated men from women. They took the men and said they will be interrogated and released afterwards,” she recalled.
“They took my husband, my brother, brother in law, my ninety-year-old father and seventeen-year-old son. None of them have returned yet.”
Nine men in Dordana and her sister-in-law Marzia’s family were taken. After beeing held hostage for three nights in their homes, the two women managed to escape with their children.
“My daughter Salma, 7, saw the militants killing a wife and husband in front of us in the entrance. Later, while the militants came to our home searching for weapons, one of them put a knife to her neck asking if her father had a weapon. She wasn’t able to cry at that point. She was shivering and were staring at me,” she said.
“Since that day she neither eats nor sleeps. She wakes up in the middle of the night and screams. She says he sees them in the dark.”
"They took him and killed him"
Other civilians who fled their homes have suffered tremendously. Sayed Gul Hussain, 42, who managed to escape from the entrance of the village to the mountains, said that he had spent two nights without food or water.
“When they blocked the village entrance, I managed to escape. My brother couldn’t leave his children. They took him and killed him later,” he said.
Now Gul Hussain, a farmer, has to take care of two families of twelve. Displaced from his farm and livelihoods, his prospects look bleak.
With support from ECHO, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) quickly provided basic assistance to 457 families displaced from the assault on Mirza Olang.
“No child should ever have to witness this medieval violence and live a life in the abject misery of displacement,” said Will Carter, NRC’s Head of Programme in Afghanistan.
“What has been taken from these families can never be given back, but with the right assistance these innocent families might survive the next few months and eventually regain a normal life.”