Niaz Bibi urges Afghans to rise up against ISIS
KABUL -- The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) murdered three of Niaz Bibi's sons and three of her grandsons last July, but nothing will deter her from speaking out against the terrorist group.
ISIS targeted Bibi's family because some of her sons had joined the Afghan Local Police (ALP), local media reported.
ISIS militants invaded her house in Qalajat, Kot District, Nangarhar Province, the 55-year-old mother of 12 said.
"They shot three of my sons and three of my grandsons in front of our eyes," she told Salaam Times. "Then they severed the heads of my sons."
"Their excuse was that we co-operated with our government," she said. "We legitimately defended our house, area and the local people."
'Rise up against ISIS'
"My sons joined the ALP and were fighting ISIS to defend their homeland and the lives and honour of Nangarhar residents," Bibi said. "I'm proud of my sons for playing a role in defeating ISIS and for becoming martyrs."
"I urge other Afghan mothers and other Afghans in general to rise up against ISIS in order to eradicate it," she said.
"Fortunately, ISIS is now gone from the region, and our village is completely safe," said Bibi. "We live in our own house again."
"We are never going to forget this calamity," she said of the trauma inflicted on her and her family.
"We ask the government never to let ISIS back into Nangarhar."
Determined to exact revenge
Two of Bibi's surviving sons have vowed to continue to fight ISIS.
"The militants shot my ... brothers Malek Mohmammad Amir, Mohammad Zamen and Mohammad Kamin in front of their wives and children," one of Bibi's sons, Sayyed Amin, told Salaam Times.
"They didn't even spare my nephews. They shot Mohammad Khan, Gol Amin and Tahwildar," he said.
One slain brother left "nine children, including four girls", he said, while the other two had nine children between them.
"Even though ISIS murdered six members of my family because some worked with the government, I have another brother on the police force," Sayyed Amin said. "If that brother is martyred, I too will join the police to fight ISIS."
The brother serving with the ALP, Atiqullah, was injured in combat against ISIS last June. Now fully recovered, he is back on duty.
"I will fight ISIS to my last breath," Atiqullah told Salaam Times. "I will fight until security prevails in all Nangarhar. I want to see my fatherless nephews able to attend school without any fear of ISIS."
"Security forces, in co-operation with the people, have cleared our areas of ISIS members," he said.
One of Sayyed and Atiqullah's nephews also pledged to defeat ISIS.
"It's been many days since I last saw my father," Asadullah, 10, one of the late Malek Mohammad Amir's nine children, told Salaam Times. "Once I grow up, I will take revenge."
Entire province will fight
The people of Nangarhar have no intention of allowing ISIS ever to feel welcome, observers say.
They play "an active and efficient role ... in fighting and defeating the ISIS," Ministry of Defence spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh told Salaam Times. "Hundreds of mothers from Nangarhar have enlisted their sons in the National Army, National Police and Local Police."
When ISIS first emerged in Nangarhar in 2015, the province's residents responded instantly and fiercely, said Radmanesh, adding that their co-operation with security forces led to ISIS's abject failure in Nangarhar.
"When ISIS was present in parts of Nangarhar Province, it committed some of the worst atrocities," said Fatana Gilani, founder and chief of the Afghanistan Women Council. "They murdered hundreds of civilians ... created many orphans, kidnapped many women and set hundreds of houses on fire."
"Throughout history, Afghan women have sacrificed [far too many] children to protect and defend Afghanistan," Gilani, a mother herself, told Salaam Times.
"Niaz Bibi and hundreds of other mothers like her lost children until ISIS was defeated in Nangarhar," she said.
Bibi's unspeakable losses led to an audience with President Ashraf Ghani in April in Kabul.
Accompanied by Nangarhar Governor Gulab Mangal and a number of provincial elders and religious scholars, Bibi received expressions of sympathy from Ghani, who awarded her the government's Malala High Medal of Honour in appreciation for her courage.