JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a law student in Kabul offers his perspective on the Friday suicide of a law graduate who took his own life under conditions of extreme economic and political duress. For privacy and security reasons we are withholding the name and institutional affiliation of our correspondent. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
News and social media in Afghanistan have been filled with videos of girls beaten for not wearing a body-bag [burqa] and for not showing the content of their phone to an armed barbarian, or of a man being shot and beaten by the buttstock of a gun for wearing a suit, or with reports that turn sixty to seventy thousand deaths of Afghan Army personnel in fighting for their country to a mere static, or targeted killings of civil society women and former Afghan national army personnel, or Taliban burning four addicts alive after they relapsed, and so on and so forth…
I thought of writing about every one – or at least most – of these cases that happened over a couple of days, but so much horror happens one hardly has the stomach to keep track of it in any detail. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to tell the story of a young man named Haroon which I believe will paint a better picture of what happens to simple ordinary people when hungry beasts are given the green light to take over a civilized country.
Haroon was a young man of twenty-seven. Just like many of us, he had majored in law and political science and was working with Mishrano Jirga TV as a technician. Like many of us he had friends, a family that loved him and a loved one whom he was about to be engaged with. His father says he was very happy about the engagement and his colleagues called him as courteous and hardworking.
He hanged himself Friday.
To understand why this happened, and why a happy soul about to get married would take his own life, one must look back to the first day when Kabul fell to Taliban. Mishrano Jirga TV was a state-owned media outlet. After the takeover of the Taliban every single government office were raided and filled with barbaric thieves who had come to collect their spoils of war; so naturally, much of the equipment of these offices were stolen and sold. Haroon took the fall for the stolen equipment and was accused of negligence and was pressured by the new authorities to pay compensation which he could not afford.
Food and fuel prices have risen to an unprecedented peak; since the takeover of the Taliban almost three months ago, people have not had a moment to warm their hearts or least forget the prospect of their families going to bed hungry. Like millions of other Afghans, Haroon struggled to provide for his family after the news outlet he worked in was shut down, just as thousands of other businesses were shut. Simply being unable to provide for your family after years of sacrifice and hard work while a terrorist murderer is in control sucks meaning out of every optimistic thought and kills one from the inside bit by bit.
In a failing economy the pressure of putting food on the table for your family is enough to break a man in half. Add to this the mental torture of the Taliban pressing you to pay for what they have stolen, and you see a happy soul who was about to marry hang himself.