Survival Story

24th August, the darkest day of my life, the day that I never thought of experiencing.  On this date at 7:50 in the evening, American University of Afghanistan was attacked. Many innocent people, including one of my favourite and talented professors, Naqib Khapalwak, lost their lives.

It was the start of the semester, and everyone was happily back from holidays. Everyone was ready to face the challenge and start the new semester. I finished my Calculus class and went eagerly to attend one of the first classes of my major, Principles of Corporate Finance. Before entering the finance class I saw my friends, I hugged them happily and then I entered the class. It was a late evening class and our class was located in Bayat building third floor. The class was planned to start at 18:50 and end at 20:00. The class started at 18:50sh and the professor started explaining the syllabus and he started teaching the first chapter of the course. He explained the basic terms and asked some questions from us. I clearly remember when I looked at the clock it was almost 7:50 and hoped for the class to finish soon because I had long tiring day at work. It was at this time when there was a very frightening sound of bomb blast from outside the campus and then there was another blast somewhere very close to campus, the window glasses of the class broke and shattered all around. The professor told us not to panic and get down. The power was also cut and we quickly laid down on the classroom floor and started hiding under the desks and chairs. I saw the professor crawling out of the class. One of my friends, who was sitting beside me during the class, told me to let‘s go out of the class and I told her to stay because I thought it was much safer to stay inside. We could hear screams of people and the sound of open fire and bullets from outside the building. I saw some of my classmates holding the curtains of the class and jumping off from the third floor to escape.

 I tried calling my family in Kabul but they didn’t pick up the phone. Therefore, I first called my eldest brother in London but he didn’t pick up the phone too. Then, I called my second elder brother in London and fortunately he picked up the phone and I told him that our university was attacked by terrorists and I was stuck in the university. He told me to calm down and stay relaxed. It was at this time that the two terrorists entered the Bayat building and started entering the classrooms and searching for students and instructors to kill them. I heard the gunfire and screams of the students. I quickly made my phone silent and put my phone under my ear while I was laying down in the floor pretending to be dead, breathing slowly and hiding under the chairs. They entered our classroom and one of them was speaking in Pashto and giving updates to their fellows, saying that “we killed the non- Muslims who were studying in non-Muslim university and we will kill the rest of them too”. I could hear people being shot by these terrorists in the corridors and other classrooms. 

My brother who was on the phone heard everything and told me to calm down and don’t move. One of the girls from our class was wounded by the shattered pieces of window glasses and she was in extreme pain and she kept pressing my leg. I comforted her silently and she was bleeding badly. After some time she fainted. The terrorists were throwing grenades outside the building in the garden and firing outside the campus to stop any movement of police or Special Forces. This battle of Special Forces and the terrorists lasted for almost ten hours. So, we laid down on the floor for almost ten hours, hearing the gunfire from inside the building and outside the building, hearing the terrifying sound of hand grenades. Every time, I heard the voice of the terrorist, I got scared and thought that now they will come and they will find us and will shoot us. At that time, I thought of my mother and how she used to tell me to stop going to this university. I had one pen and my finance book lying beside me under desk. Although it was completely dark, I tried to write on the cover of that book to my mother to please forgive me mom. I had completely lost my hope that I will come out of the building alive. At 10:30pm the battery of my mobile was also dead and I lost contact with my brother as well. I was praying and asking for forgiveness from God.

At that time, I thought of my mother and how she used to tell me to stop going to this university. I had one pen and my finance book lying beside me under desk. Although it was completely dark, I tried to write on the cover of that book to my mother to please forgive me mom.

Anonymous

I and my other classmates spent 10 plus hours laying on the floor without any movement. It was around 4:00 am or 5:00am in the morning when the Special Forces entered the campus and killed the terrorists. When they entered in the classroom that we were hiding, they told us to raise your voice and identify yourselves because it was completely dark and they were unable to distinguish us from the terrorists. However, we were too scared to raise our voices because we thought that they might be terrorists and we thought that they might kill us if they know that we were alive. After that they come closer to identify us. When they came closer, I thanked Allah that we were saved. They picked up the girl who was injured and had fainted. They told us to follow them, my whole body was numb because I had been laying on the floor for almost ten hours under the chair without any movement.

I and my other classmates spent 10 plus hours laying on the floor without any movement. 

Anonymous

While we were going out, I saw traces of blood, pieces of broken glasses in everywhere and I also saw the dead body of one of the terrorists, laying in front of the entrance door of Bayat building, covered in blood. When I came out of the campus my younger brother and my driver were waiting for me outside the campus. They had been waiting there the whole time, checking every ambulance and asking every person who was around there about me. My other brothers were continuously in contact with him when they lost contact with me. When I saw my brother, I hugged him and then we went home. At home my mother and sister were waiting for me, they hadn’t slept the whole night, praying and asking help from Allah.

Then, in the next days, every channel and newspaper were broadcasting the news about the attack. It was very painful to see the families of the martyrs crying at the death bodies of their beloved ones. Although with help and grace of Allah, I had no physical injury but I was traumatized and shocked by the incident and all the news. I was unable to sleep during the night and I left the light on all the night. Whenever, there was a power cut, I quickly used to turn on the torch or candle. I used to remember the terror of that night in the darkness. I used to hear the screams of my friends and other students. I used to feel that the ground is shaking and moving as it was moving on the night when the terrorists threw grenades. Whenever I used to fall asleep I used to have nightmares.

However, I did not let the terrorist win and I managed to recover from the incident and got back to my normal work and education life. Education prevailed and the extremism and terrorism retreated.

I did not let the terrorist win and I managed to recover from the incident and got back to my normal work and education life. Education prevailed and the extremism and terrorism retreated.

Anonymous

Author: The author preferred to remain anonymous.

Editor: Tom Valenti

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