February 4th, 2011
The Communists suspected that I was working against them so they got my family to watch me. They followed me when I left my house, especially my husband’s other wife. Her two sons worked for KGB. She was an uneducated woman but for 24 hours she watched me from her house. Whenever I would leave, they reported that, for example, I was wearing a gray skirt and blue scarf. They described me like that every time.
But to do my work, I needed to go to my friends’ villages to talk with the people. Thousands of freedom fighters came to visit me. For example, a popular commander came to visit me from Herat and another all the way from Mazar Sharif. I didn’t have a car and everyone was watching for me. So, I would leave home wearing a burka. Then I went to a freedom fighter friend’s house and changed into peasant clothes and my burka. All of the roads had checkpoints, but I went by donkey and they ignored me.
But one year, I was 7 months pregnant and I couldn’t go by donkey anymore and sometimes the Russians attacked the villages and I couldn’t run anymore in my condition, so I stopped going to the villages. Instead I just waited for my child and I worked at home. When I was nearly due, they wouldn’t let me go to the doctor to check myself and after 10 months were finished, I couldn’t deliver the child. Finally, I was home alone when I birthed my baby.
When my baby, my seventh, was born, the Communists made a plan to arrest me again and give electric shocks to my baby to get me to talk. This baby is now in Australia at the university studying journalism. A week after the birth I got a report that they would arrest us. So, at midnight that very night, my husband, my six other children and I walked over the mountains to Kabul. Sometimes we took the roads in areas that were empty of Russian soldiers and rode a bus or car. When we came to the areas where they had checkpoints, we walked in the mountains. It took us a week. (It’s a 12 hour drive when the roads are good.)
I remember in that year that they killed a lot of people, raped a lot of women and killed a lot of children. At one point, we got on a bus that was full of escaping women. When we arrived in Taloqan, a man came and told the driver to hide everything. I was sitting behind the driver and heard everything. He said that the Russians had blocked the road and they were looking for one woman. I understood that they were looking for me.
I told the driver to please wait. There were a lot of women and children in the bus without their men, so I told my husband to go bring them water. The bus driver was irritated and asked, “Why are you changing my schedule?” I asked him to please stay for 30 minutes while they bring water. When we finally left, another bus had taken our turn in the convoy. They shot that bus with a rocket and all the people in it died. In the line of 70 cars, just our bus remained unharmed and also three people from another bus. It was amazing because when I left, I only took my Holy Koran. I didn’t take my gold, I didn’t take anything. I just took my Holy Koran. When they tried to shoot our bus, they couldn’t shoot. One Hindu lady whose family was in the other bus came covered in blood and I took her inside ours. When she saw the Koran, she said that they can’t shoot this bus because I opened the Koran for our Allah to save us.
Only our bus arrived in Kabul safely. Some friends there explained that they had put my picture everywhere and a price on my head. One warned us that my life was in danger so we decided to evacuate to Pakistan. After 7 days some men came from Gazni to guide us. We bought some wedding party dresses from the bazaar and sent my brother to buy the bus tickets. He told everyone we were going to a wedding party in Kandahar but we got off the bus early and made our way to Gazni. When the way was safe, we continued to Pakistan. This was 1984.