“The Taliban said if they caught us, the wheelbarrow drivers, they would imprison us for six months. They don’t let us work. They annoy us. They don’t let us work for a scrap of naan. We are very concerned.”Ahmad, one of the wheelbarrow drivers
Yesterday, I felt exactly how hot the air in Kabul has become. I saw the intensity of its heat in the dry and cracked lips of a worker who bravely agreed to speak with VOC News.
The cruelty and malice of the Taliban—these dead who escaped from the Sharia graveyard—have not had a n effect on natural phenomena either. After two years of famine penetrating the body and soul of everything, I see that Afghanistan, especially Kabul, has literally become a hell in the heart of Asia. A deadly famine means feeling the sun of Kabul get hotter and more infernal, like a branding iron searing the back of your neck. Find the wind more miserly than ever, lost and buried. See the sea of Kabul with an emptier stomach than in the previous period of the Taliban. The streets are empty of vibrancy and business prosperity.
In this issue of “Narration of Life under the Shadow of the Taliban”, we discuss the pains of a wheelbarrow driver who has become the voice of thousands of street workers. West of Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi has seen thousands of street workers in the last two years. The lack of business on the one hand and the increase in taxes on the other have forced the shopkeepers to work on the streets. Taliban militants not only did not treat the workers properly but also moved their stalls several times. They drive from Pul-e-Sukhta to another place. They force them to go somewhere else to find another place for themselves.
According to the wheelbarrow driver, the Taliban are persecuting all of them in the west of Kabul. They are not allowed to roam the streets easily. Several of them have been arrested and transferred to Badam-Bagh. They do biometrics and identify people. A number of wheelbarrow drivers say that the Taliban use chemicals for injections to render people unconscious. The wheelbarrow driver who is talking to us introduced himself as Ahmed, Originally from Maidan Wardak. I will narrate his words and sorrows without hesitation:
“Hello. I have a wheelbarrow in the West of Kabul. In the west of Kabul, the Taliban do not let anyone work freely. We rent a house. They don’t let us work. They take us to Badam-Bagh. They do biometrics. The Taliban say, “Later, if you get caught, we will arrest you.” We will jail you. Your name is bad.
“What should we eat? They do not let us work freely. They annoy us and hurt us. They take and divide. Ten days, fifteen days For the third time, they say they will imprison us for six months. What sin did we commit? To be imprisoned for six months. What sin did we commit? They don’t let us work for a bite of bread.
They made us feel miserable. There is nothing to do. What should we do? We don’t know what to do.”
When I asked the worker, who has nothing to do, he erupted violently. A volcano from the pain and suffering of the immortal age! He sighed and spoke passionately:
“We are in a very bad situation. How can we work when they don’t let us? Before, if we were earning a hundred Afghanis, with the current situation, we cannot work for fifty or even ten—of course, during the week. When they don’t allow us to work or come out. We got caught in a bad calculation. It has narrowed the labour market for us. We have a house. We have a house for rent. We have electricity to pay. They said, “Next time you get caught, I will arrest you.”
The Taliban group, which has neither an ear to listen nor a decision to act, hopes that his words and his voice will reach the ears of international institutions.
“Our expectation is that they will put pressure on the Taliban. We demand that the United Nations and any international organisation, for the sake of God and humanity, put pressure on the Taliban to stop harassing us and allow us to live and work. Our girls are not allowed to go to school. Our children are not permitted to work.”
As reporters, we at VOC News are trying to secretly convey your voice to the global authorities. We attempt to be at least your voice and reflect it to reach international authorities ears, even though our lives are also under risk and security and safety concerns are big challenges for journalists.
Authors: Snow & Nima Caapla