Wednesday 24th of August, 2016. The fourth day of my second semester. My last class finished at 6:20 p.m. I expected to meet a friend, but she did not come so I finished my dinner and went to the mosque to pray. At 7:04 p.m., I had just finished praying when three explosions went off two meters (6.5 feet) from the mosque. The air turned dark, the ceiling fell upon us. It was hard to breathe. Seconds later, gunshots began. I could not believe what seemed clear: the American University of Afghanistan was under attack.
After two minutes the firing stopped, and a small group of us girls fled the mosque bare-footed, running to Bayat building, the nearest building. We looked for a place to hide, but there was none. Then we heard shots from the second floor, and some girls began to shriek. The sounds of gunfire came from everywhere. We were trapped. I ran to the exit of the building, but before I could reach it, there was more shooting. This time I flattened myself to the ground and covered my ears tight, trying to prevent the sounds of violence from reaching my mind.
After 30 seconds I looked behind me. All the girls I’d been with were wounded. Then I saw a man holding a gun walking on the other side of the hall. “Alia. Now it is finished,” I told myself. “There is no way to escape.” I lay flat, listening for a long time to the horrifying sounds of the gunman firing at the students. The hall was in complete darkness. I tried to calm myself so that I would not shake. I could hear each step the man took. He was uniformed just like the university’s guards, but he was firing at students. It was a confusing sight.
For several hours I stayed in the same place. The Taliban had the keys for each room of the building. They opened one room after another and took students upstairs. They must have thought I was dead. I was very hopeful. I kept hoping the police would come save me, but after three hours I gave up and started to think about my last dreams.
I could hear the attackers singing songs. I was unable to stop myself from shaking in fear. Gunmen walked past us every ten minutes. It was around midnight when one of them started firing everywhere again. They were talking out loud. They were saying, “Where are all these police? Why don’t you come here and fight like a man?”
The nearer the bullets got to me, the more debris from the floor was hitting my legs. I suddenly couldn’t keep my legs still; I moved them, and the firing stopped. I heard laughter and knew they must have seen me; they would shoot me now. I said my last words and prepared to die. I waited and waited, but they did nothing. They did not shoot me.
Now the Taliban kept entering the room about every thirty minutes. Four boys who had pretended to be dead at first surrendered themselves, and the Taliban shot one of those boys. I told myself, “If I am supposed to die, why die alone? Why not surrender myself so that I die with my fellow students?”
At 1:30 a.m., I decided I would surrender. I would shout that I was alive. The Taliban was upstairs so I waited for them to return. Then the door in front of me opened and four men entered the hall. They were whispering.
I thought they were Taliban, so I said I was alive and wanted to surrender. They said, “Be quiet, we are police.” They took me out of the building. My feet hurt to walk. I felt shards of glass in them. I was taken to the nearest hospital. I was saved.
I still feel some kind of fear inside. The Taliban attacked the most prestigious university in Afghanistan, showing their opposition to education. But I know we students must find our bravery, stand beside AUAF, and tell the Taliban that AUAF is alive and will prevail, becoming even stronger.
Alia, age 16
This story has been published as part of our partnership with Women’s eNews Teen Voices series. Photo by US Embassy Kabul.
salaam..my dear amazing brave sisters
as I sit all alone for almost 2 years withouy my beloved husband, he is afghan, i married in kabul in 2014,,all i can feel is the horror of what you went thru.I cannot imagine the terror ,,,,,,but i think how much my husband loved me as he sent me back to the UK to save my life,, my heart is broken,,,my life was broken and i have nearly like you died here without him BUT MY SPIRIT IS NOT BROKEN,as I have tried and still failed to get him to uk….I am getting up again and trying.The sheer brutality of the Taliban is breathtaking,sickening Sometimes in my suffering here with out my hero husband I thought why did he save me to send me back to a different kind of hell……the hell of loneliness , where I have no family. I converted to islam 24 years ago……..My imam prays we will be reunited………pray for that too as I pray you will be the great and good future of women in Afghanistan. We are in parallel worlds……but we share in common,,,,,,,we will never be defeated,,,be safe salaam and dua
Alia, it saddens me to learn about the tribulations that you and others deal with in Afghanistan. I’m inspired by your story to continue to strive for a college degree and be the first in my family to graduate from college. One question that I have for you is how has this situation affected your life, like how does it make you feel when you think about it ? And how has the war in Afghanistan affected you ? Has anyone that you know lost their lives because of the taliban?
Great story, it helps us realize what some have and don’t. It’s scary how things are out there but people think its nothing or don’t take us serious. I similarly lived the way you lived, running away and hidding, but now that i’m stable I feel great and I’m glad you are okay and or better now. Keep it up and show us that your people can make a change for our future.
This was a wonderfully told story, explaining all the emotions that you must have faced in the moment. It must have been terrifying waiting in the building as you witnessed your fellow friends get caught by the Taliban. This speaks to the challenges Afghan people have to face just to get an education, something that is taken much for granted in the Western world. While this is an insight to show the horrific crimes done by the Taliban, it also serves as an inspiration to see Alia’s courage in the moment of the attack. There were several times where Alia’s courage and will was tested as she saw her own friends and fellow students get executed by the Taliban. Through the strong will of people such as Alia, more and more in Afghanistan can pursue the education they truly desire.
Thank you so much for writing about this horrific experience so that we can know about the terrorism that you faced and what Afghan people continue to face every day. You are so brave to write about this and I applaud your courage and determination to return to AUAF and continue. You will be in my thoughts and heart.
I can’t begin to imagine the courage this awful attack demanded at your young age. I am so glad you were able to write about the experience and share it with us. I pray for your healing, safety and your continued education. Peace!
Nobody should ever, ever have to suffer in the terrible ways you have suffered. What you have experienced is beyond appalling. I marvel at the courage and strength you have, to write so honestly about something utterly unbearable. I thank you and join my heart to yours, and all who suffer the same around you. I want you to know that your words reach us even here in faraway New Zealand and although we feel grief-stricken and helpless to assist you, we feel for you and with you. The voices of women are what is missing and what is needed to change the balance in this awful world – thank you for writing the truth we all need to know. Your honesty will heal the world, one day – may it be soon.
What can be done to penetrate the hearts of these brutes? It breaks my own heart to read this. Thank Heaven you are well and survived to write about it.
Oh my dear Alia – my God, I am so sorry. Please may it be some small comfort that we, your devoted readers, are trying to be there with you, on the floor. May you never have to face this kind of violence, this worst side of humanity, ever again. Love, Stacy
The tragedy that Alia experienced is both an inspiration and insight about the extreme crimes the Taliban will commit to spread their beliefs. The massacre that took place on August 24, 2016 showed me the importance of never losing hope. During the conflict, Alia faced several near-death situations, but was motivated by her faith to keep fighting until help arrived. At some points Alia’s strength was tested. For example, when four boys from her class surrendered themselves to the Taliban and one was instantly executed. When this occurred Alia felt that there would be no hope for her survival and that she should surrender just like her other classmates. I am very thankful that a combination of Alia’s strong personality and a stroke of luck was enough to bring her to safety. This story has shown me to keep believing even when all hope seems to be lost.
I look at my nation and the people in it and realize how blessed we are. Yet, most of us complain about everything. I have heard so many people criticizing the great school that they go to and it is hard watching because in Afghanistan, people work so hard for their education. What happened at AUAF is absolutely tragic and deserves more attention than it gets. We all need to be thankful for everything we have daily. It is astonishing to realize how none of the students knew that this was going to happen the morning they woke up. They went to school like it was just an ordinary day, but some never returned. None of us know what will happen today or tomorrow. Yet, we do know we can be grateful for the blessings and mercies we receive day by day. I know Jesus is in control of my life and He will take care of me and those who trust in Him through the hardest times. That is why I will not fear because God’s will will be done in the end. There is no way to stop what will happen, so trust in Him and stay faithful. You are in our prayers.
Reading this story really made me sad because it shows what society has gotten used to. Everyday we hear about violence, natural disasters, war and many more. In the news we here about these tragedies and just brush it aside. But it really touched me to here such a personal story of the events that took place. It really makes one think about how some people have to live in fear and personally makes me more appreciative of the life that I have. Another reason that this was a powerful story to me was the fact that Alia is 16, this allowed me to relate to her better.
I admire your courage and your spirit. I admire that you said the student will start beside the AUAF and prove to Taliban that you are still alive and will become stronger. That’s the bravest thing. Terrorist attacks made people suffered a lot, but we should not compromise because of fears and pains. The terrorist attacks will never stop until we become strong and start to fight. The education is really important, nobody should give up the right to be educated. I can’t image how terrible the terrorist attack was, in a college… Thank you so much for writing this article and share it, that took a lot of courage.
I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a horrible tragedy. I also admit that you were also a bit lucky- lucky that you survived a horrible tragedy. This very incident is a perfect example of why education is necessary, without education,horrible tragedies will continue to occur.
News of such an event as the one experienced by Alia is truly a despairing experience. Being only 16 years old shows how much more traumatizing this circumstance was and it allows me to have more easily understood the extremity of the experience. It was an overall mournful event that the Taliban sparked however this event did not stop the students from further continuing their education. The students such as Alia that live to tell this traumatic experience were able to also allow other readers like me to realize how minute the situations in our lives are in comparison to theirs. Alia, showed great strengths during this attack by the Taliban, and during times where she felt of surrendering she was able to persevere and that led her to being rescued by the police. I am glad that Alia survived to share such an experience with the rest of the world, as it gives a realistic viewpoint on what is occurring.
Dear Alia, thank you for sharing your horrific experience. While I am reading this essay, I relate your experiences to movie’s scenes. For me, it is difficult to imagine the hardships you have overcame; terrorist attack seems to be unrealistic. I have never imagine this terrifying event would have happened to a girl at 16 years old. Although the terrorist attack has obstructed you from receiving education, it leads you to become a stronger person. Your experience reminds me of an idiom “Sometimes misfortune is a blessing in disguise”. This inspires me to always have faith and hope. I am proud of you for not being pessimistic and complain about the suffer you’ve encountered.
I am sorry to hear about that bad news from you. Also, I really admire you after I read the article. As we know, War always brings the indelible shadows for people. Especially, Students who want to be educated should not be involved in a war. The society need educated and talented people to make better. However, they become the most vulnerable party in the war. Soldiers bully unarmed students is unfair and cruel. All the people have responsibility to work for world peace and return the bright future for children.
This story made me realize how lucky we have it here in the United States. Your response to the violent acts committed at your school by the Taliban inspires me to show more courage in my life. It is horrifying that there are people in this world that kill with no remorse. I find it strange how people simply disregard these events because they could never happen to them. Acts of violence such as this one are very real and must be treated as such. I admire Alia’s bravery in saying that the AUAF and other schools in Afghanistan will prevail against the Taliban
This is a very heartfelt story about the situations that an innocent student had to go through due to the bad choices of the Taliban. It is very surprising how courageous she was even though she went through such a traumatic experience. Once someone goes through something like that, it is very hard to get over it, which goes with what she said about even after the attack she still has fear inside of her. Her positivity and cooperation with the police helped her get to the hospital and luckily survive. This article provides a first-hand experience of what happens during a terrorist attack and how it affects the individual both physically and mentally.
The tragedy Alia has encountered gives me signal that there are still some places suffering from wars. Living in a peace society, wars do not seem relevant to my daily life. It is terrifying to think, that there are still people live their life under the horror of war. The article not only shows that Alia has been strong all the time (even though she sees some people being killed by Taliban), but also indicates that it is crucial to introduce peace to any place of this earth. This shows me that wars do not mean anything but to hurt innocent civilians like Alia.
This is an example of a tragic event in our world today. It is unfortunate that such suffering has become a symbol of such a beautiful and peaceful religion. Can we not just have peace, end the violence, end the bloodshed. All this loss and what for, for some low life organization to try and show power. Murder of the defenseless is not power, it’s cowardly, unjust, and weak. What do you gain out of murdering innocents? Only thing the Taliban is gaining from this is hate and intolerance. Being a Muslim, I have been racially discriminated and looked down upon. While it is true you can not erase an ideal that people believe in, we can do our best in resisting it. If we do not fear it, it cannot hurt us.
You have gone through something horrific that NO ONE should EVER have to experience. You are a survivor and an OVERCOMER. You have overcome insurmountable odds. You write powerfully and I pray that you are processing and allowing yourself to grief your near-death experience and to allow yourself to feel the pain – this is the only way to heal. You will become stronger for this, even though you did NOT deserve it. You are courageous and strong and I admire you and cannot believe what you have gone through. Like someone mentioned in a previous comment, what you experienced is like a scene in action movies, except, yours actually happened. I am so sorry this happened to you and so grateful that you are alive. I hope you are well and praying protection and blessings over you.
May you continue to write and find healing in the process, knowing that your words are read and listened to! We are listening! Although few, we ARE listening. Take courage dear heart.
You said a lot about the women of Afghanistan, we hope that this country returns to the good conditions as soon as possible.
Thanks for sharing your experience. You have a way with the words, it feels as if I’m there so please keep writing. I hope one day all violence will end in the beautiful country of Afghanistan.
Thank you for having the courage to share your experience with the rest of us. It is sickening to hear about the acts of violence and terror that goes on in other parts of the world but it is the reality for others like you. To live through this terrible tragedy must be a great burden but I have a belief that you will survive as your story shows just how strong you are. I pray that someday, a new world arises where you don’t need to live in fear or constantly look over your shoulder but rather we can all live in peace. Your story just makes me realize all the things I take for granted in the United States and just how lucky I am. I know that one day, the world will be a better place and that we will all be able to live together peacefully. To get to that day, however, it is stories like these that force the rest of us to look at the reality of the world and incentivize us to do something with our lives. Alia, please don’t ever stop writing as it is messages like yours that create change in the world.
an inspired student
This is an impacting story that chills to the very bone because of the extent of the Taliban’s violence and opposition to women’s education. It is a disgusting tragedy that women must fight for their right to education, to drive, to be who they wish to be in a place that they should know as home. As a survivor, you are right to say that the girls and boys must learn and fight the oppression of women in order to show that women will prevail over their oppression. It is very sickening that the Taliban continue to haunt Afghanistan and its women, but women like Alia will rise and prevail over these horrid men and their twisted beliefs. Eventually these women will become the strong foundation of the resistance against the Taliban and fighters for women’s equality and ability to become what they wish. As someone living in the United States, it is hard to imagine the everyday fear and oppression that the Taliban must force onto the communities of Afghanistan. The acts of the Taliban cause the discrimination against Muslims, even though Islam is a peaceful religion. The acts of a rogue group that has corrupted beliefs that causes people to view Islam as the issue is a terrible example of misinformation that causes Muslims to be discriminated when it is the Taliban hurting them. Keep fighting Alia, for you are a symbol of resistance.
Thank you for sharing your experience with the rest of the world you’re a very strong and brave woman able to although filled with fear stay quiet and as calm as one could be. You’re a survivor, you persevered, you overcame all the challenges that were put in front of you with your near-death experience. Mashallah you write beautifully and have a bright future I hope you continue to write sharing more of your incredible gift with the world. Afghanistan at this time is facing hardship with a lot of violence and very little peace, however I pray that there will be a time where Allah brings peace to the land and the hardships that many face including you will wash away with a new beginning. Its people like you that allow for this change that educate others, that will bring this new resurrected country. The more your write the more people will learn and began to understand healing not only yourself but also healing others and opening their eyes to the horrors that many believe are only seen in movies. Alia I admire you for your courage, strength, and bravery to not only surviving your incident, but sharing it with the rest of the world. May Allah give you blessing for you have not only educated people in the mind, but have also touched their hearts.
Dear Alia, I hope you are well as of now because it must have been severely difficult to be in a situation like this. Although fear could still be there for you, resilience and perseverance are what will help everyone in the end. I feel deep pain and sorrow for all the lost students that were attacked, and I pray for no one else to have the same fate. For now, all I can say is to be strong and to pass the message of peace and faith, because there will be other people that might need this message as well.
Your story shows a terrifying event that people should never have to go through at such a young age. The feeling of being trapped and having nowhere to go is horrifying and something I have never experienced. This story really shows how sometimes the unexpected can happen so suddenly. It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that innocent people are losing their lives for these pointless acts of violence and how women have to fight for their rights to education. Your story makes me feel as if I am with you in this, and gives a point of view that many people don’t get the chance to see. I commend you for your confidence, bravery, and hope. Thank you for sharing this story, and I hope you continue writing to share your view and help make a change that this world needs.
I cannot imagine being in a situation so frightening, furthermore, I cannot imagine having the courage to share my story with the world. I cannot fathom the difficulty of dealing with this at such a young age. Your story makes me more grateful for the basic rights and opportunities that I am given here in the United States. I hope that one day we can all live in a world ruled by peace, and accept each other, rather than use terror and destruction to take down those who we do not agree with. I hope that you have decided to continue your education, despite your horrific experience. I wish you all the best.
I cannot imagine being in a situation so frightening, furthermore, I cannot imagine having the courage to share my story with the world. I cannot fathom the difficulty of dealing with this at such a young age. Your story makes me more grateful for the basic rights and opportunities that I am given in the United States. I hope that one day, we can all live in a world ruled by peace, and accept each other, rather than use terror and destruction to take down those we disagree with. I hope that you have decided to continue your education, despite your horrific experience. I wish you all the best
The tragedy experienced by Alia tells us how terrible it is when there is a terrorist attack. When she was trapped, she felt so frightened that she even wanted to surrender. It is quite hard for me to imagine to be trapped in such situation because I am living in a peaceful community. If I am facing a terrorist attack like that, I may be scared to death. When I was reading her story, I felt painful. There were so many innocent people wounded and dead in the assault. We should cherish our daily lives without violence.
Thank you for sharing with us your story. Even though a place of education was attacked, that doesn’t mean that you should stop getting an education. Education is the only way women can be able to have their voices heard. In Islam, education is highly revered. While this isn’t the same situation, my grandmother in Pakistan was refused an education since she was a woman and was used to clean and do work around the home. When she was 16, she was married off to a man who was over ten years older than him. Today, she tells me that she could have carved her own path in life if she had gotten a good education. The Taliban’s interpretation of Islam is flawed since education for both men and women is equally important. During the Fatimid Era, many great Muslims poets and scholars emerged such as Rumi and Al-Khwarizmi. This was due to the extra attention given to education which is preached in Islam. The Taliban’s interpretation of Islam is used to favor themselves and not what is preached. Education for everyone in that area could possibly change the situation that Afghanistan is currently in. I truly feel sorry that you needed to go through these tragedies. I hope that today you are being properly educated and treated as an equal.
Dear Alia, I appreciate that you shared your experience although it is really horrible and terrifying event for you. It is really heartbroken story about the situation that the all innocent students have got under attack from Taliban. I feel sorry for you and all Afghan women that they are having dangerous experiences. Also, it is good to hear you have rescued by police. Although it is hard to remove the trauma from your mind, I wish you will overcome it eventually. By sharing your story, I learned the fact that many Afghan women are having struggle with the terrorism and its trauma, and I wish many people read your painful story and get much interest on how much Afghan Women get pain in daily life by terrorism.
I am deeply sorry for the troubles that women in Afghanistan face daily to receive an education. This event should not have occurred nor should it be the reality of every woman living in the country. While the experience in traumatic, it is important for women to continue to act defiantly against the Taliban’s abusive ways, as they can only win if they scare the people into hiding. I hope that the views people have of women will one day change and people will learn that it is wrong to take harm people regardless of the fact they disagree with them.
Originally, it is a story by Mrs. Bereshna Musazai, a classmate of mine who luckily survived the attack on AUAF, with injuries on her paralyzed leg.
I think the story is just quoted by Alia, hence she is not the story’s main character.
The credit goes to Mrs. Musazai.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to tell us the story. I can not imagine how hard it must have been to relive and write about a memory as disastrous or scary as-as that. It must have taken a lot of courage to be able to not move or have any response as to not give you away, while so much chaos and hardship surrounded you. Personally, I don’t think I could even imagine doing what you did. These things happen on the daily over there and it must be frightening to have to live in constant fear of having another event similar to this happen.
I was devastated to hear that your school was under attack. Not only is it unfair for the students, but it is crucial to have a well deserved education taken away from someone. You are so brave to be able to tell this story, and take what happened, as a way to become stronger. I never thought a story could inspire a student this much, but it did. From wanting to surrender, and giving up, you still had hope, which is so important. It made me realize how easy it is to give up on something, however it also showed me how strong we are to overcome that.
Reading your essay appalled me! I was utterly devastated to learn about this attack. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk about such a horrific event. To recount such a terrible memory is extremely hard to do and you have inspired me in many different ways. Keeping your nerve during the attack stood out to me; it’s not easy to stay calm in such a moment. Having the courage to surrender to them was also a powerful moment in my opinion, and I was astonished by your bravery.
This is definitely an impact story for me to hear. I really appreciate you share the story to us. It is hard for us, who are living in such a peaceful place, to believe that the world somewhere is still having this kind of terrible thing. But it still happens. Afghanistan now is facing hardship. There is a lot of violence and only a little peace. I hope you are able to overcome fear and continue to receive education at the university. I believe if everyone is knowledgeable and society improves, then this kind of violence will not happen again!
Thank you for telling this story to us. I had never imagined things like this happen around us. I was amazed by your courage and I am also glad that you can talk about this to others. But at the same time, I also feel bad about what you had experienced, you said gun shut is normal there, I hope those gun shut sound would never show up again. I believe your country and environment will get better. People like you had been educated which I think is one of the most important elements for a country to improve because the more educated the young generation is the better a country’s future would be like. I like your article. It is well organized and it is meaningful to read. Last but not least, this article you wrote made me be thankful for every day’s peaceful life.
I am sorry that you had been through these hard conditions, and I feel sad that your school is under the Taliban attack. Thank you so much to write this story and share your experience with us, I admire your courage and bravery under the attack. This article makes me realize how lucky I am, and I can’t imagine what I going to be like if I am under these suffer. I hope that things will get better, and live in peace. I also hope that you are going to continue your education and treated equally by others.
These story’s should be herd worldwide, everyone should see this…….. Gucci
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We just started reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and your story allowed me to see women’s oppression in Afghanistan through a victim’s eyes. I am really impressed by your ability to stay strong and intelligently act dead for hours without giving yourself away. The circumstances about the Taliban attacking the most prestigious university in Afghanistan says a lot about how we can lose everything at any point. It is up to us to make the most out of our lives. You did a splendid job in a horrifying scene. I am deeply sorry that you had to experience a terrorist attack due to conflicting interests. It is definitely not a crime to desire an education. However, it is also really scary how such events can happen at any time and at any place. Fear of terrorist attacks is not a reason to cut off your dreams. In fact, it should incentivize you to work harder and push past it. I feel like your story exemplifies these skills because when faced with a terrorist group that detested the idea of women getting an education, you stood up for yourself by going to the university. Keep dreaming big!
Thank you for sharing your story to the rest of us. I understand how hard it must have been to manage to share this terrifying experience, and for that you are very brave. It hurts me to read about the cruelty of the Taliban. It is absolutely devastating to read about this attack upon your school. It is unjust for the lives of innocent people to be placed in extremely dangerous situations. Your story should be seen by the entire world in order to raise awareness. I admire your immense courage to remain calm during the time as well as your bravery to endure the torture until the end. Your story makes me recognize how I should never take what I have for granted here in the United States. It is horrifying to see that the people in Afghanistan still undergo these terrifying moments. I praise you for your strength to persevere till the end. I also respect that you were ready to surrender with your fellow peers, to be seen as a united strength. It is amazing to see how one story has moved me so much and has taught me to recognize that this is a crucial and delicate subject that must be known to everyone. Thank you so much for sharing this story and I hope you are treated equally to this day.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Alia! It must take a lot of bravery and courage to be able to speak up about your experience. As much as it is incredibly unsettling and terrifying to hear about events like you have experienced, it is important to share them so others become aware of these types of situations, and can better prevent them in the future. Sharing stories like yours will show people around the world realities that they’d never even knew existed before, and help inspire changes. That’s really admirable of you to share your personal experience! I can’t even begin to comprehend how scary it must be standing in your shoes that day during the attack. It’s really horrifying thinking about what happened to you and all the people who were present that day and that all of it happened at an institution of education, which should be a safe place. I hope that you’re in a safer place now, and continuing with school. Education is very important, and it’s really terrifying to see something I’ve taken for granted my entire life taken away from people. Stay strong and never lose hope! 🙂
Sincerely, and all the best,
I truly admire your determination which kept you fighting against the odds until the very end. I am especially astounded by your attempt to finally surrender. This action of yours was not one of conceding to the enemy, but one of accepting the reality of the situation you were in. Such a choice to make in a condition is one that is not easily said, forget even being done. Recounting a personal experience as life-threatening as this one is incredibly difficult. I thank you for being able to muster the courage to tell your story, it truly must have been horrifying. Being a high-schooler in the United States, I cannot even fathom being in a situation that even resembles the pain of which you endured. I do not think I will ever be able to genuinely understand what you went through, god forbid anyone ever have to. I hope that those who even think of ever committing such actions may see this and realize that what they are doing is simply not the right choice to make, no matter the circumstances. Once again, I cannot say enough about the tragedy you suffered and I offer condolences to those who have to tolerate such circumstances every day. It is the very least I can do.
I truly commend you for having the courage to speak about this painful near-death experience. It speaks to how strong and fearless you are. I can not possibly fathom the terror and pain you must’ve gone through and are still continue to go through when dealing with the aftermath of what happened. It is so sad that this situation happened to you, especially because all you were doing was trying to receive a good education in a place you believed would be a safe raven for doing so. Nobody should ever have to go through something so traumatic but the fact that you still fearlessly decided to open up about what you underwent, is so admirable. I don’t know if it would have been as strong and perseverance as you if this same situation happened to me. You are so young but yet still so powerful. Your story is an inspiration to me, reminding me the importance of valuing the various privileges I have in my own life that might not be considered standard in other places. I truly respect you being brave enough to open about your story and remaining so resilient in the face of tragedy. Thank you for sharing this this devastating moment with us.
Thank you for sharing your story. As an individual currently reading about the Afghan war, your story helped give me a better perspective of what life in the midst of Afghanistan’s terrifying violence is like and how many innocents are caught in between the crossfire. I especially admire the diction and unique structure you used throughout the story, especially with regards to your maintenance of such a focus on your personal chronology of the day. It enabled the reader to feel like they were right there with you, truly enabling us to experience how terrifying and frightening the situation was for you. I also admire the way you focused on your particular senses and the sensory input you were feeling every moment, especially with regards to your focus on what you were thinking to yourself while the attack was occurring. This added to the immersiveness of the story and really drew the reader into your story. Most especially, I admire your courage for being brave enough to share such a riveting and clearly emotional story with the world. I hope you continue to write such beautiful stories and that the situation in your homeland becomes better for institutions of education.
I am extremely sorry that these are the condition that you and thousands of other women have to live in. I was extremely moved by your story and it really help put the things I have in perspective. I would like to applaud you for sharing your story with the rest of the world. You are extremely brave and confident for taking this opportunity and recounting this horrible experience. Personally, I hope that your writing can put into perspective the true tragedies happening in Afganistan and all around the Middle East. The whole world should accept the chilling reality of the denial of education to women and unite in order to fight it. I was personally inspired by your bravery and even in the face of doubt, you endured in order to be saved. I hope that you were able to recover from this experience, get the education that you deserved, and something like this never happens to you again. Lastly, I wish that people like you continue to share your experiences so that one day we can live in a world governed by peace and equality. Once again, thank you for sharing your experience, continue what you are doing.
For my entire life I have lived in a safe and friendly environment that I never had a chance to witness the darkness outside my small peaceful world. I look at the area around me and feel ashamed to even criticize my life being so mundane. We live in a peaceful environment every day, the only life concern is to worry about getting new vaccines shots to be away from the coronavirus breakout. Your world seems so far from us, this level of tragedy and sadness, no one should ever ever experience this from their life. I can not imagine how many hours you spend in the darkness without moving your body, while gunshots nearly hit you for many times. I appreciate your courage, your unstopping pursuit for education even if your life is threatened. I learned from you that I should always keep pursuing whatever I wished to achieve, especially when I have so many opportunities at my hand. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I will continue to support you!
Thank you for sharing your experience regarding the horrific atrocities of the Taliban towards education. Although many of us in other countries hear about the violence that occurs in Afghanistan, we rarely ever hear a survivor’s first-person account. Your narration allows the reader to experience the emotions and fear that come with a near-death situation. Reading your story has allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation towards survivors and the courage and bravery that they have demonstrated. It is also appalling to hear that such treatment is given towards women and education in your country. Coming from the United States, I enjoy many liberties such as safety and education that many others in different countries cannot experience, making me extremely lucky. For that reason, I also commend your bravery and commitment towards education in a country where many people are opposed to it. Because not only have you demonstrated incredible bravery in a time of disaster, but also by supporting your own education where one could be killed for doing so. I hope for a day where individuals, regardless of their gender or race, can receive an education, and be protected from the atrocities of war and violence.
Thank you for sharing your story and for being willing to make your voice heard. It takes courage to speak out against evil, especially when having witnessed and experienced the terror yourself. Your words touch the hearts of many, including mine. My reaction to your story was pure devastation and sorrow. I could not imagine how difficult it was for you to stay silent for your own survival while watching as innocent students were harmed and a place of education was being destroyed. I admire your bravery. It is always easy to advocate for change and try to persevere but no so much after you have experienced an attack. I can feel the resilience and bravery in your words and I believe that you will prevail against these attacks. Everyone must confront fear at some point in their lives and it pains me to see that you have had to face it at such an early age. Please know that your words are impactful and are helping to spread awareness and make a difference. Among many things your story teaches me to have courage. Thank you for this lesson. I hope that you can continue your education and the university will prevail against this demonic violence.
I appreciate you taking the time to share this story and experience with us. I’m sorry for the conditions that you’ve had to live in and the experience many women have been through. It must be scary to live in fear that another similar event will happen and it’s terrible to hear about the violence and suffering that goes on in other parts of the world. Hearing your experience opened up my mind to the struggles and difficulties people face. It is crucial for all, no matter their gender, to receive education. I hope that today you are being treated properly with the education that you deserve.This article is inspiring and makes me realize how lucky I am and to be thankful for the peace in our life. I hope that you were able to receive an education at the University and overcome your fear. To be able to tell such a memory isn’t easy and you’ve inspired so many people. I admire your bravery, courage, and strong personality to be able to get through the attack and other hard times. Your perseverance and endurance through it all helped you reach safety. Stories such as these deserve to be heard all over the world.
I commend you for your bravery and diligence towards fighting for a cause that never seems to be given enough attention. When one stands for a cause, it is of utmost importance that no matter what the cause may be, they voice their opinion. Thank you for being one of the few who is willing to spread the word about such issues. In situations like this, there are more witnesses than victims and as a witness, it is vital to make others aware of the reality of the circumstance. Furthermore, I appreciate your brutal honesty about the dreadful condition of Khadija. It has helped me, as a high school student living in a vastly different environment, learn more about the lives of many women in Afghanistan. You have reminded me of the opportunities I have that not many do, living the life that I do. In a world where many such matters are forgotten, sometimes being reminded of their existence is not enough. Many of us need to hear the narrative from a personal encounter. Once again, I applaud you for your work as a spectator of this crime and for telling a story that needs to be told.
For my past life I have lived in a safe and friendly environment that I never had a chance to witness the darkness outside my small peaceful world. I look at the area around me and feel ashamed to even criticize my life being so mundane. We live in a peaceful environment every day, the only life concern is to worry about getting new vaccines shots to be away from the coronavirus breakout. Your world seems so far from us, this level of tragedy and sadness, no one should ever experience this from their life. I can not imagine how many hours you spend in the darkness without moving your body, while gunshots nearly hit you for many times. I appreciate your courage, your unstopping pursuit for education even if your life is threatened. I totally understand your shocking feelings when you realize your school is under attack, as AUAF represents the dream place to pursue education, a haven away from the rest of the world. Therefore it is more important for us to stay strong, believe in our own faith and reason to be alive. From you I learned the importance to keep pursuing whatever I wished to achieve, especially when I have so many opportunities at my hand. Thank you to stay strong and share your story with the world!
Dear Alia, no one should have to ever face the tragedy that you faced. I am truly upset that you had to experience and event like this, especially as you are someone who is just furthering your own education. A woman should not have to fight for their own education against this horrific group as you have had to. However, even in the face of this challenge, you preserved and are a symbol of education and resilience, as the one thing that people can not take away is your knowledge. Material goods may be lost in conflict, but your own intelligence can never be taken away. During this confrontation, a large mass of the student population was killed and with the incredible stroke of luck, you survived even as you were about to turn yourself in. While it was fortunate events played out this way, that possibility could never have happened if you were not as strong as you were, even when pieces of glass were falling onto your leg, you held on and didnt give up. That dedication to education and this idea of equal education nation for all is incredibly powerful and was tested that day. What I have taken away from this story is that even in the face of challenge, one must hold strongly to their ideals and how education is the most important thing in life.
To hear about such tragedy endured through the encountering of fellow classmates having their lives taken is truly devastating. It saddens not only myself but people throughout the world to be hearing of such tribulations occurring within Afghanistan. It gives us an understanding of what some have that others don’t. It’s scary to know of this alternate lifestyle unimaginable by the common people, that there are humans that condone absolute terror instigated by their radical opinion. What took place on the day of this massacre has taught me to never lose hope. Regardless of numerous near-death situations, you maintained motivation with your faith in resolution. I hope the very best for your future.
Alia, what you went through was unbelievable. This shouldn’t have happened to anyone. I’m glad that you made it out of the shooting alive. I couldn’t have imagined myself in this scenario, as I would’ve lost my mind. While I was listening to your story, I realized how privileged most people are and how they take their situations for granted. When you said that you wanted to surrender, I was so shocked. It saddened me that you thought about giving up on your dreams at the last minute and thinking about death. Anyways, I’m happy that you’re fine now. I hope you work hard and achieve your goals!
I cannot imagine what you went through. You were very lucky to survive that day. I appreciate you taking the time to share this story and experience with us. For my past life, things have been peaceful,so I can’t imagine the scope of your fear, but you have my sympathies.This cause does not get enough attention. InshaAllah I hope it is given more . No one should have to face the tragedy you faced. Material goods are temporary,but intelligence is forever,and they robbed you of that as well as attacking the university you were at. This is an outrage and should never have happened. Best wishes
Thank you for writing about this horrific experience for us all to read and understand the hardships you went through. This piece has taught us to never lose hope as Alia faced many near death experiences, but never gave up. The bravery Alia had to stay there and have faith to keep fighting for her life is an inspiration to everyone. When all hope felt lost, she considered to surrender like her other classmates, but was able to make it out alive. Her perseverance and bravery allowed her to escape a horrific event like this, and everyone should learn to never lose hope or faith during the hardest of times. I admire your bravery for standing against the Taliban in the end of your story when you talk about how you and other students will show the Taliban how AUAF will prevail. This story must have been difficult to write and tell due to the amount you endured and had to go through. You have brought my attention and many others to the hardships faced in Afghanistan, and we cannot truly understand how terrifying it must have been to go through. This story has taught me to keep believing when all hope is lost.
Thank you so much for writing about your story for so many others to see. Being born and raised in a completely different environment, I understand that I will never truly know what it’s like to be thrown into situations like this. Yet, you speak about your experiences openly enough for most nearly anyone to clearly grasp what you have gone through and empathize. To be attacked and have your life put in danger for merely pursuing an education is a horrifying ordeal that you’ve brought light to. So many students, including myself, can only speak of our grievances and irritation regarding school and have the luxury of taking it for granted. Upon first read, I instantly knew your words will always serve as a reminder to appreciate and value what we have, and speak up and fight for what we don’t. I genuinely admire your bravery, in both your resilience to your situation as well as writing about it. The way you wrote about how you resigned and decided to surrender hit me hard; I think that’s when I truly saw how desperate and devastating your experience was. You’re just a year older than me and have survived something I will never even come close to encountering. You never asked to be thrown into a situation like this either, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will have the strength to keep fighting, both for yourself and for so many others.
Thank you so much,
I’m very sorry for what you had to go through. I cannot possibly imagine how difficult it must have been to be in that situation. It is terrifying just to think about. I commend you for having the courage to speak up and share your own personal experience. It has shed some light for me on just how horrible the terrorist attacks must have been and how much many people had to go through. It must have been very difficult to recount such a traumatic event, and I’m sorry that you had to witness the brutality and destruction caused by the Taliban firsthand, which is why it is also extremely brave for you to write about your experience. As a fellow student, I wholeheartedly support what you said in the end, that students must stand together against the terrorists, for we cannot allow them to strip away our ability to learn and become educated. It is very important for us to speak up as well to spread awareness for this urgent issue, so I am glad that you have chosen to share your story. Although it must be difficult, I sincerely hope that you have had a good recovery since the attack, and I would like to express my appreciation again for your willingness to talk about what you went through and sharing it with us.
No one should have gone through that as a 16-year-old. I can’t imagine how you felt and how everyone around you went through it. You are smart for pretending to be dead. As a fellow female, I am proud of the fact you managed to keep your calm even when you wanted to cry or when you were trying to stop your legs from shaking. You have my emotional support with you. Just remember that you went through pain so you could prove a point and people that you lived, you survived this tragedy. We are lucky that you are still living with us to this day.
I would like to thank you for sharing your painful experience. Even through this painful experience, you still succeed in describing your emotions in the situation. Your story is a powerful way to create change within society. As a person who is not familiar with these experiences, your story helps me put into perspective the value of education. Furthermore, I find your writing style to be intriguing, as your attention to the detail in your surroundings helps the reader be placed in your viewpoint. The chronological order helps the reader visualize the scene playing out in their head, which is important when you are trying to connect with others about the injustice in society against education.
In addition, I would like to congratulate you for sticking with AUAF even after this incident. Education is one of the most important tools in the world, and it is something that should never be taken away from anyone. I find it important that at the end of the story you stick with education and you stay strong even after this horrific experience. I appreciate taking your time to share this story, as this is not an easy story to share. I hope that you and other women can be united behind this cause and advocate for the need of education.
Thanks a lot for sharing your story with us! In our English class at school, we are reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and your story truly enabled me to see terrorism in Afghanistan through a victim’s eyes. At such a young age, you were so strong and the power conveyed through your writing is a great inspiration to people of all ages. I owe you much respect for your bravery and your willingness to tell this tragic story to others. It is horrifying to see that the people in Afghanistan still undergo these terrifying moments. I praise you for your strength to persevere till the end, and it was truly amazing to see how one story moved me so much and taught me to recognize that this is a crucial and delicate subject that must be known to everyone. I hope that you were able to recover from this experience, get the education that you deserved, and something like this never happens to you again. Lastly, I wish that people like you continue to share your experiences so that one day we can live in a world governed by peace and equality. Thank you so much for sharing this story and I hope you are treated equally to this day.
I thank you for sharing this story with all of us. I am in high school and I don’t ever think that I will feel what u have felt during this event. This story can show me and everyone else that this world is not that pure. This story can show us how fortunate we are if we are able to live in a safe and self-sufficient area. Again, I thank you for showing the world what it feels like outside of the safe cities and towns. I am grateful that you were able to survive through this event and I hope that you are able to live in an area that no longer has the conditions of terrorism lurking around the corner.
Alia, thank you for sharing your story. I can’t begin to imagine how painful of a memory this must be for you. The courage you showed in the face of such terror is inspiring. The tragic story you shared reminds me of how privileged we are to be able to go to school in a time of peace. The goal for equal education across the world is one that we have to work towards. Your bravery is inspiring, and the story you shared is an extremely powerful one. Thank you for sharing this story, and I wish you all the best in your future.
Thank you so much for writing about this frightful experience. I cannot imagine the courage and determination you carried with you during that time. We are fortunate to be able to go to school peacefully because of the experience you shared with us. Although your legs trembled, you remained calm and collected. I hope you recovered well from this experience and continue your education at AUAF. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, as it is not an easy one to share. I hope that you and other students can be united behind this and advocate for the need for education across the country.
Hi Alia, I have read your story attentively, and then I have been strongly surprised by your young age shown by the website at the end of it. I feel very sorry for what you had encountered and suffered six years ago when you were so young and I can really feel empathy with you because I am currently also 16 years’ old. Thank you for letting people from other parts of the world know about the real life of Afghans; and I really admire your bravery to tell the truth. Lastly, I hope you, your family members, and your friends have been safe so far and peace will come to Afghanistan soon.
Your story truly opened my eyes to the horrors Afghan people must endure every day. Growing up in an environment so different, your story allowed me to recognize just how privileged I am to have access to education and peace. The courage you kept as destruction occurred around you is inspiring. I find the parallel between simply praying after school to explosions truly exemplifies just how quickly life can change amidst war, and how peace is never guaranteed. I thank you for sharing your story and allowing me to gain insight into the horrors that exist outside my knowledge.
I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a horrifying experience. I know it must have been difficult for you to recount this traumatic event and relive it, but my classmates and I truly appreciate your strength to write this piece. So rarely do we get to read about what victims of terrorist attacks go through from their own perspectives, and I really appreciate your bravery—not just in the situation itself, but to write such a powerful piece that spreads awareness on this crucial issue, one that needs to be talked about more. Your writing reminds me that I should never take my education for granted, because of how so many don’t have access, or need to fight for it even though it should be available to everyone. I commend you for standing by your university and advocating for the importance of education. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing this story with us. It really opens the real life of the Afghans to the outside world so that we understand what is happening within the country. Through the sheer powerful words of your story, I can resonate with your fear. One thing that is horrific is that you are punished for pursuing an education, you are not conflicting with Taliban but you are just trying to live your life out. It is terrible to know that monsters plague the city of yours and even the police are weak against them. The fact that you were scared to the point where you had needed to surrender shows just how horrific the ordeal was. I pray for your safety and hope you will find help.
Alia, from the descriptions you provide, I can only try to imagine what it must have felt like to be at the American University of Afghanistan during the Taliban attacks. It must have been hard… coming so close to death, feeling so sure of it… I’m sorry you had to go through that, but thank you for being here today and for sharing your encounter with the Taliban. What shakes me is that you were only sixteen when you were forced to go through this event. To enter what you would consider a safe space for learning, and then to come out harmed so severely, sounds horrible and no one deserves to go through such an experience. It saddens me that you, among many other students, had to go through this and live with the physical and emotional wounds of it. Thank you again for having the strength to show the effects of such terrorism, and above all, sharing your story.
Alia, thank you for telling your story about an encounter with a Taliban Attack. It saddens me to see university students have to worry about when they will get under the Taliban’s watch. The moments where the Taliban kill or threaten students really frustrates me. The story also opened my eyes to how violent, daring, and controlling the Taliban truly can be. I am glad you as well as the other uni-students prepared to reach for safety and were cautious of one’s surroundings. The bravery of you and the students were remarkable and I wish the same for people : stand up and work together against the evils of society. I hope you are still safe.