July 2008 Report

My dear Muslims,

I have, alhamd’Allah, returned to Mumbai from a visit to Afghanistan yet again; a visit marred by the terrible explosion outside the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7 that took the lives of 58 people. An explosion we witnessed from our vehicle about a mile away, while on our way to Ghazni. There were other ominous signs on this trip that got our adrenalin going:

  1. The Indian Airline flight to Kabul began to make some horrible noises just as we were to begin takeoff taxi at Delhi, sounds that I have never heard before. We had to deplane while the engineers “warmed” the engines. Nervous takeoff, I tell you!
  2. We got word from the ulema in Ghazni, advising us to wear Afghan clothes on the way so as to “blend” in and not be an “attraction” to “certain factions” along the way. Our first set of clothes got stolen by the taxi driver!
  3. At a security check along the way, a soldier checking our passports asked Dr. Ishaq if we foreigners were “shujaa” (brave) for wanting to go visit Ghanzni.
  4. We passed several areas were Talibaan had previously kidnapped or massacred people. We would hear the fire-ready click of our security guard’s Kalashnikov at these points (especially after dark) and the hair on my arms and nape do an involuntary dance, the heartbeat picking up.
  5. Close to Ghazni, we passed a carcass of 7 burnt out gas tankers and other vehicles that the Talibaan has torched just a few days ago; the ruins looked fearsome and menacing. All along the way, there were signs of Talibaan’s wanton destructive power; roads ripped open crater wide by bombs.

Joining me on the trip this time was Abbas Muljiani, a concerned and very ardent supporter and well-wisher of CAI and Dr. Ishaq Najafii of Afghan Poverty Relief based in London who is very active in local aid activities, especially in Ghazni Province.

Our journey took us to the heartland of Hazarajaat, where we enjoyed risk free access to our community. CAI will, insha’Allah, construct 5 elementary schools each in Wagh, Hujoor, Ossa, Sharzai Dah and Ghazni. I visited the sites, verified that need and approved these projects. Insha’Allah, these schools should be ready by the end of the year. Long term, this is the best gift we can give to these tormented people. Short term, we will, insha’Allah, continue to hold their hands with food, medical and other assistance to enable them to emerge from their tortures and massacres.

Although we saw much sadness that has embroiled Afghanistan and her people, especially the Hazaras, I am happy to inform you that CAI water project for Chandawal outside of Kabul has actually begun and my prayers and promise to the widows and orphans living on the steep mountains outside Kabul will insha’Allah, be answered soon. CAI is still short of some $50,000 for this project; will you please support us and help provide water to over 5,000 very poor and destitute refugee families? Imagine life without water; please give in the name of Imam Hussein (AS).

I will stop here and urge you to look through the gallery of photos. Here you will see photos of our trip; more importantly, you will see pitiful clips of our interviews with widows who lost their husbands to Talibaan brutality. You will also see a clip message from Aagha e Mohsini, the Grand Marja of Afghanistan. You will see the initiation of CAI sponsored water drilling project and other snips of our visit.

My very warm gratitude to Abbas bhai for his company and advise and to Dr. Ishaq for his patience while we asked and probed and also for his hospitality at the Dar El Eitaam at Ghanzni where APR takes care and educates over 350 yateem children.

Finally, please, please do not forget our Ramadhan Iftaar Appeal; we have a pretty steep climb and I am beginning to lose sleep over worrying if we will meet our goal to help feed 5,000 families in Afghanistan and India this Holy month. If you can, there is no better investment in your future for your help will go to the neediest, most desperate.

Jazaak’Allah, may Allah (SWT) bless you and your families for your continued help and support of CAI projects.

Yusuf S. Yusufali