Soman’s Survival Story

The majority of my classmates and I were back from the Maghrib prayer to our FIN 300 class in Bayat building, and we returned to class to listen to the lecture.

Suddenly, we heard a loud explosion with gunfire following it.

Everything was happening from right behind our classroom, so it was instantly filled with smoke and dust. We all started escaping from the classroom, but instead of getting out of the building, we unintentionally entered the opposite classroom where many other students were present and terrified.

We all wanted to protect ourselves, so we huddled under the desks for a few minutes thinking that maybe everything would be under control soon. We could not be more wrong.


I was trying to calm the girls who were injured by shattered glasses when suddenly the sound of gunfire got louder, so we thought the attackers were coming by stairs to kill us.  In that horrifying moment, a bunch of male students started breaking the windows and many students jumped from the second floor.  That seemed like the wrong thing to do, but the desire to stay alive was of course greater than being injured for a short time.

That seemed like the wrong thing to do, but the desire to stay alive was of course greater than being injured for a short time.

Soman Salihzada

One of the wiser male students suddenly said, “Stop. We have an emergency door in the corner of the building. We have a better way.”

Oh yes, the emergency door! We were given training a few times on how to use it but because we were afraid we forgot all about it. We now had to use the same stairs to reach the emergency door, but who was brave enough to do so?

As that male student started walking towards the stairs, the rest of us started to follow him. We started running as the gunfire and sound of explosions got increasingly louder. That 100 meter distance seemed like 100 kilometers, but we finally reached the exit door.

That 100 meter distance seemed like 100 kilometers, but we finally reached the exit door.

Soman Salihzada

On hindsight, we made the right split second decision because if we had waited a few more seconds, we would have met the terrorists. And God knows how many of us would be alive and telling our stories today.

Was it over?

No. I saw a guy who was shot and lying near the exit door waiting for an ambulance. That sight was hair-raising.  Everyone was terror-struck, scared to death, horror-stricken, and paralyzed with fear. Seeing that sight made me feel what could be the height of the helplessness in life!

Everyone was terror-struck, scared to death, horror-stricken, and paralyzed with fear. Seeing that sight made me feel what could be the height of the helplessness in life!

Soman Salihzada

At that moment, I received my mom’s call and told her I was safe, but she didn’t believe me since my voice was shaking. But I made her trust I was in a safe area and asked her to pray for other students.

At that point in time, an old man opened his house’s door and we were taken there. After a few minutes, we were taken to a girl’s dormitory and I started looking for my friends. A girl was shot on the arm and was bleeding very badly, so we tried to bandage her arm until the ambulance arrived.

My dress was red with her blood and it was a very scary thing to experience, but I was okay with it as long as she was feeling a little better after we helped to bandage her.

Oh my, what moments those were.

When the ambulances took the injured people to the hospital, we started calling our friends to ask if they were okay.  One friend answered the phone with a quiet voice and said, “We are still stuck. They are coming towards us. Please help us.”

That sentence was heart-breaking and we felt completely helpless that time. 

We reported the location of that class and waited for the rescue of our classmates.

Finally, I got home around 10 pm, and my other classmates were rescued around 5 am.

Many were wounded and some amazing souls like Jamila, Mujtaba, Prof. Khpelwak were killed.

This is indeed a second life for those who survived.

This is indeed a second life for those who survived.

Soman Salihzada

We are so fed up with the amount of hate that terrorists have against love and peace.

We are so fed up with the amount of hate that terrorists have against love and peace.

Soman Salihzada

We do not want a world where we live in constant terror. We need less dying and more living. We need less destroying and more building. We need less hate and more love.

We do not want a world where we live in constant terror. We need less dying and more living. We need less destroying and more building. We need less hate and more love.

Soman Salihzada

So I will do my bit and I will not give in!

Author: Soman Salihzada is a Business graduate from the American University of Afghanistan. Currently she works as Account Manager in Forex in Istanbul, Turkey.

Editor: Hui Zhen

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close