Published On: November 26, 2020524 words3 min read

Field Work At The Cost Of Life

Collecting field tools from one of the professors at Polytechnic University, Kabul, Afghanistan. Saying goodbye to me with the mentioned words, you are crazy going into the territory for fieldwork that no one has ever thought about. I don’t know what motivation was pushing me from behind but I have a strong desire to go and have something reported from the designed locality.
On the way, we have crossed almost 40 army checkpoints. For the first time when I set foot in the territory under the control of Taliban extremists. Actually, it was our unfortunate home town Kunar Dara-i-Pech in northeast Afghanistan. But due to ongoing war and unrest, we migrated to another metropolis. Finally, I am here to carry out the Geological fieldwork for my MS thesis. The night was quite tremulous and ill at ease with the glowing sky above. Hardly closed my eyes when all of a sudden the fires of AK-47 and RPGs compels me to wake up. The guy closed to me said that this is the Afghan National army attempting their presence in the territory.
On the very next morning as scheduled we have to kick off collecting samples. There were huge security threats as drone attacks of NATO were quite frequent. Few of the extremists escorted me as I didn’t want them to be with me but the person in charge insisted to have them with me. As my beard was trimmed and they were quite harsh on people how have cut their beard. Also, they were considered a security threat in the presence of strangers in their territory.

Mine dumps into the valley

Headquarters of miners

Beginning the ascent into the mountains as there was no proper way. The reason that I don’t want those extremists escorting me is that I have to use the GPS in order to have the lat/long of the collected geologic samples. Using GPS is a red line for them. As in those days, the Fatwa (Judgment) was, if someone caught having the GPS. He has to be executed on the spot without asking any further questions. I didn’t tell even the person who has insured my presence there. As I was keen to follow the exact scientific procedures and to get the best possible of my fieldwork.

Leftover of the artillery used

Extremist demolished hideouts

On the way down on the other side of the mountain, one of the guys pointed into a mountain in front of us and uttered. We have lost a few of our friend’s there last year as an unexploded IED come in their way and blasted. Mostly these IEDs were from the Russian invasion. He hardly finished his words and the other intervened. We have killed ISIS members in last month’s confrontation in the same area.

Famous mines regarding museum-quality size kunzite, hiddenite, and Tourmalines crystals

In such a hopeless and anguished situation I collected the samples and descended back to the valley.
Everyone is right based on their knowledge and thinking??

Sign of Hope

Field samples rich in tourmalines, micas, and Kunzite

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  1. Ayan May 19, 2021 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Such a pathetic. May God bring peace in Afghanistan

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