I remember the young girl sitting beside her mother. She looked like a beautiful little angel. Her white face shone and her curly brown hair matched her brown eyes.
I met the two of them in Uruzgan province at the Ministry for Women’s Affairs. I was visiting the ministry with a colleague to announce projects tailored to jobless and poor women. The girl’s mother told me their story.
They had been kidnapped by a relative. Instead of taking them to Iran for medical treatment as he promised, he brought them to a village in Uruzgan province and sold them to a family. The mother told me the people had their eyes on her beautiful daughter for sexual pleasure. She said they were kept imprisoned in a house. The family brought food to them, but kept them locked in the room. She said they were so afraid, especially at night when they heard voices at the door or people knocking. She said that if they tried to come in they would scream so the neighbors would hear. In this way they protected themselves.
After four or five days, when the people of the house were busy with their neighbor’s wedding party, the mother and daughter escaped. In the middle of the night they ran to another house in the village where the owner allowed them to come in. Early the next morning he took them to the Uruzgan governor’s house. The governor sent them to the provincial Women Affairs department and this is where I met her.
The mother said it was good that they were now safe, but they still needed to get back to Herat province. She asked me to help by taking her message to the governor. I was scheduled to meet the governor, so during our meeting, I delivered the mother’s message. He promised he would arrange safe transportation to send the mother and daughter back home the next day.
The governor provided everything. I called to confirm when they were on their way. The mother was very grateful.
This mother and daughter were lucky to get back home with the governor’s support. But there are thousands of similar stories of Afghan girls who are not so lucky. They are abducted and they never go home again. They no doubt would tell the stories of the bad actions of their kidnappers, but they do not get the opportunity.
I hope that one day these kidnappings of women and girls stop and we can have peaceful and secure lives. The innocent, beautiful face of the little girl with curly brown hair remains in my memory.
Photo: A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images