Govt has ignored Jalalabad bank attack victims’ families
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The bereaved families of those killed and wounded in a massive attack in April on a Kabul Bank branch in Jalalabad city, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, say the government is yet to take notice of the situation they are in.
Bad economic situation, a lack of aid and no follow-ups of cases of the people detained in connection with the attack are among complaints the families carry.
A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Kabul Bank, leaving 35 people dead and more than 124 injured in Jalalabad City on April 18, 2015.
The attack also caused heavy financial losses to people, but the local government has not yet provided the exact amount of the losses.
After the incident, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said five suspects had been detained in connection with the attack. However, the victims’ families say they are unaware of the fate of those detained.
Eighteen children whose fathers were killed in the suicide attack currently live with their grandfather in Koorgah village of Dara-i-Noor district.
Hazrat Omar and Gul Omar were two brothers who lost their lives in the Jalalabad attack. Their family and children now face hard living conditions.
The grandfather, Sayed Omar, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “The sight of my eyes has dimmed. I and the widowed wives of my sons are suffering from mental health problems after the death of their husbands.”
Omar has three little children who they cannot help in financially supporting their family.
“My elder son Hazrat Omar was a prayer leader in Qala Shahi mosque and Gul Omar was a public order policeman in Maidan Wradak province, both married the same day and died on the same day. One left behind 10 children and another eight,” he said.
Sayed Omar, 65, said. “That day, my younger son asked his elder brother to go with him to the bank to withdraw his salary so the elder brother could take the money home and he could return to his duty in Maidan Wardak, but they were killed in the bank.”
When asked how he looks after the orphans, Sayed Omar in a faltering voice: “We spend life awaiting God’s blessing. I have two fields of land but have no anyone to irrigate and cultivate it.”
He laid his hand on one of his grandchild and said: “I am spending life in the hope that one day these children would grow up and help their family.”
Zabit Amir Mohammad, a former provincial council member and a resident of Dara-I-Noor district, said that Sayed Omar and his daughter-in-laws whose husbands were killed suffered from serious illnesses and economic problems. “Omar has three more sons, but they are small, his wife has died,” he said.
Like Sayed Omar’s family, a number of other families who lost their members to the attack in Jalalabad also suffer from poverty.
Hijratullah, a 12-year-old boy who lost his elder brother to the suicide attack, said he worked as a trainee at a photocopy shop in Jalalabad city and receives a small amount of money each day.
“I left the shop and my brother was there. I had just gone about 30 meters from the shop when a heavy explosion happened and it knocked me unconscious, but a few minutes later I regained senses and ran towards to the shop where I saw my brother laying dead among several other bodies,” he recalled.
After his brother’s death, his mother developed mental problems and other family members were deeply shocked over the loss of his 17-year-old brother.
“Our grocery shop was also destroyed in the blast and we suffered 800,000 afghani loss. I am currently working as a trainee, but I am sad my mother’s health does not improve,” Hijratullah said.
He added “few days ago, my mother’s blood pressure increased after she visited the grave of my brother. My uncles took her to hospital and she was given injections there. All of our family is sad.”
Shafi Laghmani was among those seriously wounded in the incident but he is now able to walk.
A resident of Behsud district, Laghmani lives in a rented house in Bangharo area and hopes to regain the ability to work. “My stomach and feet sustained seriously injuries. I got 50 stitches in the stomach 42 stitches in the feet,” he said.
He said he had a juice shop destroyed in the suicide attack and he currently had no job.
“I was listed among the dead but some doctors heard my voice and took me to operation theatre,” Laghmani added.
Laghmani complained that the government had paid him no attention or extended him any help.
Provincial council secretary Zabihullah Zamari also said the government was not helping victims of such incidents.
He said the President and local governments sometimes provided cash assistance to some victims’ families, but such aid was insufficient.
“It is the responsibility of the government to help victims’ families and provide job opportunities to the affected people,” Zamari added.
He asked the government to convict those detained over their involvement in the suicide attack.
“The incident happened in April. The government should promptly punish those involved if they have been really detained,” Zamari stressed.
Governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the provincial government was helping those affected by security incidents.
“The Nangarhar governor’s house was under the leadership of an acting governor at the time of the Kabul Bank suicide attack. Therefore the victims did not receive aid,” he said.
Deputy governor Mohammad Hanif Gardiwal said the president had distributed aid to war victims following the “code 90.”
“We have distributed 50,000 afghanis to each of families losing their members in the suicide attack. A delegation from the Presidential Palace also traveled here about the distribution of the aid,” he added.
However, a majority of the victims’ families say they were unaware about the aid.
On May 4, 2015, NDS spokesman, Haseeb Seddiqi told a news conference in Jalalabad city said five persons involved in the attack had been arrested.
Seddiqi had said: “The people detained are involved in Kabul Bank suicide attack, the assassination of female provincial council member Angiza Shinwari and in the explosion in Dolgi Baba Shrine.”
The attack on the shrine was claimed by the Islamic State (IS). However, Seddiqi had said the detained individuals belonged to the Taliban.
Nangarhar police spokesman, Lt. Col. Hazrat Hussain Mashraqiwal, said the detainees had been handed over to judicial organs.
“We refer any accused man to judiciary organs after 72 hours of our investigation,” he said.
Nangarhar judiciary organs did not share information about the detainees.
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