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Shafiqa Khplwak AUAF student writes about the university reopening

29, March, 2017

It was around 3:00 pm. I went into the colorful tents at AUAF. Tina run towards me hugged me and said “I am so happy seeing you here”. After the attack at AUAF I didn’t think Tina will stay here I thought she will leave this country.

The American University of Afghanistan had orientations sessions for students between March 25th and 27th. I looked inside the tent. It was full of students.

During orientation we learned about the new security enhancements. AUAF seems confident that they are providing much better security than before.

Tina got on the stage and welcomed everyone. She invited Fazal Qader Omar to recite Quran. Then David Sedney the acting president came on stage and gave his speech “I saw students in here who had no fear. Our students are strong and have high hopes to stay with AUAF. For the past months many students came to me and asked me about the reopening”.

Nargis was sitting next to me, she is my classmate who was injured. I asked her: aren’t you scared? She looked at me and said “if I go to that building where I got injured, I will have a heart attack”, then she smiled and said “everyone was telling me not to go to AUAF but I had to come and continue my education”

We were taken around the campus to learn about exit points. There was the new girl’s dormitory and a few other buildings under construction.

Kochai my friend told me “Shafiqa, when the attack happened, I had just finished praying and as I sat down I heard a huge blast. At that moment I could think only of our university and nothing else. I thought our university would close forever but look we are back here and so are students and professors. We won’t step back. We will come and continue our education here”.

I also saw Rahmat Amiri who was injured badly. He was back from Germany. Rahmat Amiri is political science student. I asked him why are you here? He took few second and said “I am here for Zubair”.

“Zubair died that night. I and Zubair were guiding students to the UN compound. The moment we tried to run away ourselves, they started firing bullets on us. I got shot in my stomach, hand and feet. Zubair was shot too. He said nothing. He fell down on ground and died”. He said while pointing his Shahadat Finger “I will be the witness for Zubair’s martyrdom”. Then he said “I was injured and lying on the ground for hours and no one came around to help me. Maybe they thought I was one of the gunmen”.

“After two hours, they put me in emergency ambulance. I didn’t eat for 12 days. They took me to Germany for treatment. Everyone was telling me to not go back to Afghanistan. I could start my education in any university that I wanted in Germany. But I came back because this is my homeland. This is my country. I was raised here. I belong to this community. I will not escape. Escaping is not the solution. I want to prove to the attackers that they were wrong.”

I looked around saw Henna, Nargis and Pariwash taking selfies.  They said Jamsheed was their friend and they were back to school to follow his steps.

Henna who was Professor Khpulwak’s student said “we have to fulfill the dreams of our friends and professors who lost their lives. And the dream will be fulfilled if we continue our education in here”.

Beside me there I saw three girls I asked them “how is it coming back to AUAF? Didn’t your family stop you? One of them said “more than us, our families want us to continue our education here. These things happen all the time. That shouldn’t stop us from studying and moving forward. Some day they will give up and stop fighting.”

The day was almost ending. There were beautiful clouds scattered all over blue sky. The students were sitting on the green grass and talking with their friends. Boys were playing football. Birds were flying from tree to tree and singing. I looked at Kochi and reminded here that were getting late. We had to go to our rooms and prepare for the exciting day of classes.

AUAF has reopened. I see no fear in the eyes of the students. We are here for a better tomorrow.