This May Be The World’s Deadliest Job. But There’s ‘no Choice Except To Join.’
For Mr. Gul, who said he earned $2 a day from his small grocery in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, his sons’ deaths pierced both his heart and his family’s prospects. One of his sons, Awal Khan, was killed four years ago when his police outpost was attacked. Four months ago, a younger son, Mohammad Khan, 38, and 14 other officers were killed in a Taliban attack, he said.
Between them, his sons earned about $520 a month. Mr. Gul said the government paid him $3,000 for funeral costs. But he must now support an extended family that includes his two wives, plus his sons’ two widows and their 19 children.
Mr. Gul said he would welcome a peace deal so that no other fathers lose their sons.
“My own sons will defend their country until the last drop of their blood,” he said. “But we want peace, so that I don’t lose my other five sons in this bloodshed.”
In Shemal, Ms. Bebe expressed contempt for the Taliban fighters who killed the men of her family.
“I wish I was young,” she said. “I would join the military and take revenge for my son and grandsons.”
She touched the shoulder of her eldest grandson, Suleiman, a slender boy who appeared to be about 12 years old. She said she had urged him to join the military and avenge the family when he comes of age.
Suleiman was asked whether he planned to volunteer. Ms. Bebe and several village men and boys gathered around to hear his response.
“Yes,” the boy said in a faint voice. “I want to serve the country so that we win the war.”
Suleiman looked up at his grandmother. She seemed to want him to say more.
“And also,” he went on, “I have been inspired by the men in my family.”