I was seven years old in 2000 when the Taliban took over Afghanistan. I was with my family in Bamiyan province in the Y. district when the Taliban reached our district and massacred the people, so my family left the village. The Taliban closed all the schools and told people to keep their daughters at home.

At the time I was small and I really loved going to school. But when the Taliban shut down the schools, there were many security problems so my parents decided to send me and my sister to live with my aunts in Pakistan where we could go to school. When I started school in Pakistan in 2001 I found many girls like me from families who had fled the Taliban.

Over the years my Afghan friends and I sought out information about the situation in Afghanistan and eventually we heard that after many years it was getting better with the American troops helping to ensure the security of the Afghan people. We loved our country and finally in 2008 we left Pakistan and breathed the fresh and clean air of our heartbroken Afghanistan.

We were tired of being strangers, and now once again we were living alongside others who loved Afghanistan. I appreciated the American troops’ humanitarian aid. Entering your own home again gives you a sense of peace. Our country is like our house, like a mother or a lover.

Since then I have witnessed troops from America and New Zealand serving Bamiyan province. The presence of these troops has brought many benefits for our people. One benefit was that Bamiyan people have had no security worries because the troops were keeping us safe. We did not have explosions, suicide attacks, beheadings, or some of the debacles occurring in other places. The troops also created job opportunities for Afghan people such as translators, drivers, cooks, and cleaners.

But finally, in 2013, the American troops left Bamiyan province and handed over security duties to our Afghan armies. Our Afghan armies have tried their best to maintain the security of the Bamiyan people. They were successful in many ways during this stage, but they couldn’t control the powerful ways of the Taliban.

Eventually, we began having daily events like kidnappings, robberies, and beheadings.

Bamiyan has now become an example of how the situation in Afghanistan is worsening and I want the American troops to help our armies. The world is witnessing that Afghanistan is not in a good situation. Young people are leaving. The government asks them to come back, but we know the government cannot do anything for the young people who stay in Afghanistan.

My country lacks security and job opportunities. Afghanistan’s corruption and poverty are at high levels. If the current situation continues, we will not have any dreams left for Afghanistan; we will wait for the black days of life. But if the American troops help us with the security, then, day by day, we will make our country better and we will create a peaceful country without discrimination, poverty, and corruption.

By Sharifa

Photo by New Zealand Defence Force.