The families of the 31 travelers who were abducted along the Kabul-Kandahar highway earlier this year say they have been forgotten despite the fact that only 19 of the hostages have been released.
The families of remaining hostages, including many of those whose loved-ones have already been returned to them, still spend day and night under tents in the Park-i-Zarnigar area of Kabul – just a kilometer from the Presidential Palace – demonstrating their resilience for national unity government leaders.
The 31 hostages were taken by a band of foreign militants back in the month of February, and sparked outrage around the country. It wasn’t until over a month later that local tribal elders were able to negotiate the release of a 19 of the hostages in exchange for prisoners related to the militants that the government held.
“They [foreign militants] stopped the passengers and took them away, but what kind of government is this that cannot prevent such groups of people?” asked Abdul Hussain, a relative of one of the kidnapped passengers. “We are ruined. God knows. We are ruined.”
Expressing a similar sentiment, another family member of one of the abducted passengers, Ali Mohammad, told TOLOnews that they feel forgotten. “No one is paying attention to us. No one is asking about us. If we want to share our problems with them, we are not permitted to enter their offices,” he said.
Masuma, whose 19-year-old son was released with the 19 abductees, say she is still waiting for her younger son, who is still being held in captivity. “It has been five months that we have spent day and night under tents, but no one asks about us and no one is aware of our situation,” she told TOLOnews on Tuesday.
Aisha, whose 22-year-old son is among the kidnapped passengers, says the group of relatives are fasting and are bearing the sweltering summer heat outdoors in order to call attention to their plight. “The government is blamed for the problems that we suffer each and every day,” Aisha said. “I came here from far away and have paid money – despite being poor – in order to seek justice,” she added.