Grieving Afghan Father: 'All My Dreams Are Buried' Many details have emerged about the American soldier suspected of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians in Kandahar province. But little has been reported about those who were killed or the five still recovering. One Afghan farmer lost nearly his entire family in the attack.

Grieving Afghan Father: 'All My Dreams Are Buried'

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene.

Today, the American commander in Afghanistan takes questions from Congress.

INSKEEP: General John Allen visits Washington after a series of crises in the war. In a moment, we'll ask the White House deputy national security adviser how, if at all, U.S. plans may change.

GREENE: The most recent incident was a mass shooting of Afghans, allegedly by an American sldier. And we've learned many details of the suspect's life. But until now, we've known much less about the 16 Afghans who were killed, and the five who were wounded. Each victim had a story, and NPR's Quil Lawrence spoke with the Afghan farmer who lost 11 members of his family.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Afghans say they're so inured to civilians killed in wars that they bury their dead and move on. But that's not easy for Muhammad Wazir, who lost his mother, his wife, his sister-in-law, his brother, four daughters, a nephew and two sons last week.

MUHAMMAD WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: My little boy Habib Shah is the only one left alive, and I love him very much, says Wazir. The boy cried next to his father as he spoke by cellphone. Wazir admits that 4-year-old Habib Shah was his favorite, and that's why he took the boy to travel with him. While they were away, tragedy struck their tiny, mud-brick village.

WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: His oldest boy, Ismatullah, had just started to grow soft whiskers. At 14, he was tall and strong; turning handsome, his father says. He was in elementary school about five years ago when fighting erupted, and all the schools closed. Ismatullah joined his father in the fields - like other boys in the village - as their district, Panjwai, became one of the biggest killings fields of the Afghan war.

WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: Every day after prayers and breakfast, Ismatullah would join me in the fields, and we'd work through until noon. Then he could go play, says Wazir. Ismatullah loved Tup Danda – an Afghan game like baseball. Faizullah was next oldest, about 8.

WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: After the schools closed, Faizullah got a little spoiled, Wazir admits. The boy loved to ride a bicycle around the village and whenever he could, he'd grab his father's cellphone and play games on it. Also shot, stabbed and burned was Wazir's brother, Akhtar, about 21 years old and just married; no children yet.

WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: Like anyone, I wanted my children to be doctors, engineers – important people. All my dreams are buried under a pile of dust now, says Wazir.

Men from Kandahar don't traditionally talk about their wives or daughters in public, certainly not to the press. Wazir's daughters were 12, 8, 3 and 2 years old; their names were Massoma, Farida, Palwasha and Nabia. His 60-year-old mother, Shakarina, was killed, along with his wife, Zahra.

WAZIR: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: I loved them all like they were parts of my own body, Wazir says. I miss all of them terribly.

Quil Lawrence, NPR News, Kabul.

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