[Original by Sabirullah MEMLAWAL/Maki KATO, Afghanistan Project (December 11, 2018); Translated by Y. Miki/S. Altman]

Photo taken at the Khogyanai district around 2012. Mr. Mehrab Khan holds a gun ornament. The author is on the right hand side.

Here, I would like to talk about the story of Mr. Mehrab Khan. We are both from the Khogynai District and met each other more than 20 years ago. It was around the time when the Taliban controlled the political power here. According to the people in his village, he was very wealthy and had a great life working in the wood business as a timber merchant since his village was in a mountainous area. Although, I didn’t see him that often, he still seemed really happy.

After this period of peace, the new government claimed power from the Taliban and the battle between the Taliban and new government was ongoing for few years. At that time, his elder son who took over his job was accidentally involved in the battle when he was transferring wood with his horse and ended up being shot to death. This is how Mr. Mehrab Khan lost his precious son. Moreover, his hometown has been under the control of the power called “IS” and some family members who cannot go back to their hometown have to live somewhere in this Jalalabad city as IDP (Internally Displaced Persons).

Mr. Mehrab Khan and I talked without him recognizing me.

Yesterday, I ran into him when I stopped by a repair shop. While a car was been repaired, an old man begged for money saying “Spare change, please? “. When I looked carefully at the old man, it was actually Mr. Mehrab Khan. He seemed like he couldn’t recognize me at first. Someone who used to live peacefully, now lives a different life and is always begging for money to survive. I figured he might not want to be seen by someone who knows about him, so I told him I was from Kunar instead of saying Khogynai. However, he somehow noticed who I was, so he turned back without saying anything.

I wonder how many people in Afghanistan are in a similar situation to Mr. Mehrab Khan.

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