Afghan girls honor ISIS attack victims through painting

By Omar

A group of girls in Herat city are using art to memorialize the female students who tragically lost their lives in the deadly attack last year by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in Kabul. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- A group of girls in Herat is using art to memorialize the female students who tragically lost their lives in the deadly attack last year by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in Kabul.

The girls, who have been learning painting in secret, are seeking both to preserve the memories of the innocent children and teenagers who were killed and to channel Afghans' outrage and revulsion towards ISIS.

An ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up at the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in Kabul on September 30, 2022, during a university entrance exam (Kankor) attended by a substantial number of girls.

The blast killed 54 people and wounded another 114, mostly girls, according to the United Nations.

A group of girls gather October 5 in Herat city to paint portraits of those female students who tragically lost their lives in the deadly attack last year by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in Kabul. [Omar/Salaam Times]

A group of girls gather October 5 in Herat city to paint portraits of those female students who tragically lost their lives in the deadly attack last year by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS) on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center in Kabul. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Khadija Ibrahimi, a 16-year-old in Herat city, began her foray into painting just two months ago alongside other girls at an undisclosed location in Herat city.

Ibrahimi said she paints the faces of the victims of the attack on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center to ensure that they are remembered for eternity.

"The memories of all the martyrs of the Kaaj Higher Educational Center should remain alive forever," she said. "Those girls were studying bravely to build a better future for Afghanistan, but ISIS shattered their dreams."

"Those girls did not want the light of knowledge and education to go out in Afghanistan, but ISIS's dark shadow of ignorance blotted out their lives forever," she added. "By showing the portraits of those heroic girls in exhibitions and educational centers, we want to expose ISIS's cowardly and ignorant nature."

ISIS is born out of ignorance, and therefore it wants to stop Afghanistan's progress and development by attacking schools and educational centers, Ibrahimi said.

Fears of more ISIS attacks

Afghan girls have been concerned about future deadly ISIS attacks as the threat of terrorism grows.

Raihana Rahmani, 15, another of the artists, said she is worried about ISIS every time she steps out of her home.

"I am afraid that ISIS will attack our painting class or our place of residence, making us their next victims," she said. "I always pray that the deadly attack on Kaaj won't be repeated so that innocent people do not lose their lives again."

"ISIS, a brutal and bloodthirsty group, is still active in the country and is trying to stop education and progress," she said.

"Several provinces in the last year witnessed ISIS attacks, and I am really afraid of such attacks happening in Herat province."

Samia Fazilat, 14, who also worked on the paintings, said she is afraid that ISIS will blow up schools and educational centers again.

"ISIS enjoys killing innocent people, and I am very worried that after several months of silence, the terrorist group will resume its attacks," she said.

"The attack on the Kaaj Higher Educational Center makes me very sad every time I think about it," she said. "We lost dozens of our compatriots last year in that attack. They were there to gain knowledge and build Afghanistan, but ISIS killed them."

By painting the girls killed in the Kaaj Higher Educational Center, she wants their images to remain alive in the public's memories and their sacrifices never to be forgotten, Fazilat said.

Enemy of knowledge and enlightenment

By targeting schools and educational centers, ISIS wants Afghan society to remain illiterate so that it can use illiteracy and lack of awareness to trap young men into joining it, said Fatima Jaffari, one of the girl painters.

"No educated and knowledgeable individual would join a terrorist group like ISIS," she said. "Only illiterate and ignorant individuals who know nothing about Islam and humanity easily join ISIS and take up killing."

"Suicide attacks on harmless schoolchildren are the work of psychopaths and the ignorant," she added. "A person with the slightest information and knowledge would never commit such inhuman acts."

The more the new generation of Afghanistan is educated, the more powerless terrorist groups like ISIS will be, Jaffari said.

Deadly ISIS attacks on schools and educational centers show that ISIS is the enemy of knowledge and education, said Munesa Afshar, a civil society activist in Herat city.

"An informed and educated society is the greatest threat to terrorist groups like ISIS. When people are well informed and educated, they will never follow these groups. Therefore, ISIS tries to stop the young generation of Afghanistan from obtaining education," she said.

"To uproot terrorist groups from Afghanistan, schools and educational centers must be opened to children and teenagers across the country," Afshar said, adding that literacy centers should also be opened in districts and villages to educate adult men and women.

Education and knowledge can defeat extremist and terrorist mentalities and eliminate terrorism from Afghanistan, Afshar added.

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Art plays a significant role in portraying society's good and bad aspects. I appreciate these girls' artistic work and hope they will present other sufferings of the Afghan society in the language of art and pictures. Although the world community has been involved in the war in Ukraine and Palestine for the past week, our poets, writers, painters, scholars, politicians, and experts should share their joys and sorrows with the people and world. ISIS and other extremist groups are enemies of humanity. Whoever kills an innocent person commits a murderous crime and ruins his world and the hereafter. May God grant peace and tranquility to Afghanistan, Palestine, Ukraine, and other world regions where people spend time in wars and hardships. Amen


Unfortunately, we thought that Afghanistan would become peaceful with the arrival of the Islamic Emirate, but nothing like that happened. As Afghanistan was, so is it now. As Afghans were being killed, they were still being killed. Afghans were poor and lived in poverty, but they still live the same life. As the Afghan girl was deprived of education, she is still deprived. Since no attention was paid to the health of Afghans and no well-equipped hospital was built for their health, they are still knocking on the doors of the Punjabis for a syrup and a pill as before, for which they subject them to cruel treatment. To get help for treatment, they torture them in front of Pakistani hospitals and insult them. These insecurities have devastated Afghanistan. If we accepted each other, there would be no ISIS, no Taliban would kill Afghans for years, and no wolves would shed our blood in the name of democracy. We thought there would be peace, if nothing else, in the fall of democracy and with the arrival of the Emirate, but that did not happen. Last Friday (13th October), local sources told the media that an explosion occurred during Friday prayers in the Imam Zaman Jamia Mosque in Pul Khumri city, the capital of Baghlan province. According to the authorities, seven worshipers were killed, and 15 others were injured in this explosion. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for the attack. The Afghan authorities said that seven people were killed and 15 others were injured, but when I s


Artists have a lot of complaints and pains in their chests, but they do a lot to remove the happiness and sadness of others, and this group has started the same work. Like us, they will feel very helpless and lonely in their hearts, but Kaj Education Center aims to protect the memory of the victims by drawing people's attention and thus reviving their memories. An artist has nothing of his own but gives a lot to others and spends a few moments well. The earthquake occurred in the Herat province of Afghanistan and still occurs every day. Other ordinary people, singers, movie actors, cricket players... also came to the aid of the people of Herat and reached out to their countrymen to offer them condolences. They collected help as much as possible and sent it to the victims of the Herat and Badghis earthquakes and are still busy collecting it. No one else has collected as many donations as ordinary people and artists in this connection. The former government officials are silent about how much money they stole from the Afghans; they did not even donate a single Afghani. However, the artist informed the world's people through his art that the situation in Afghanistan is terrible. A good example is the talented Afghan cricketer Rashid Khan, who promised to help the Herat earthquake victims at the 2023 World Cup stadium. In general, it can be said that artists can do many things through their art, which even the officials of the time could not do.


Art is something that removes sorrow from the human heart. This group includes painting, poetry, drawing, music, songs, and dance. The creation of portraits of the murdered students of Kaj Center by Herati girls is a commendable work. May God grant paradise to both the boys and girls who were killed in Kaj center. Acquiring knowledge is Sunnah. The Prophet (PBUH) said, to learn knowledge even if it is in China. This hadith is from the time when China was far away from Saudi Arabia and there were no airplanes, cars, or bicycles. The meaning of the hadith is that even if knowledge is in a distant place like China, still learn. Science and art are related attributes. Those who have these two attributes together are great and fortunate people.


Currently, the only enemy of science and education in Afghanistan is the ISIS terrorist group. As in the past who destroyed the schools and who did not let Afghans to be educated, all that occurred from our neighboring countries; Iran and Pakistan. Most of the youth of our Afghan people remain illiterate. During the republican government, millions of dollars were given to the Ministry of Education, but even in Kabul province, this ministry installed tents in the schools, while no student can learn properly under the tents. Those who graduated from the high school of public schools during the republican era are still illiterate. Since 1986, the education system in Afghanistan has been broken. In 1986, when there was the government of Dr. Najibullah, missiles launched by the Islamic organizations hit the city of Kabul, and schools promoted students without studying. Students used to spend the entire year at home and at the end of the year they were promoted from one class to another class. This situation lasted for 6 years. When a student does not study for 6 years, is it possible for him to become a literate student? Boys and girls, try to study your lessons. Currently, security prevails in all of Afghanistan. Explosions have decreased significantly in Afghanistan. You boys and girls can create a classroom in your area in a house and encourage your studies and don't let the enemies of Afghanistan keep you away from getting education. Explosions at schools and universities are t


ISIS is an international terrorist group that carries out anti-Islamic and anti-Afghan activities under the guise of Muslims. What ISIS is doing is not the work of Muslims and Islam. Islam is a religion that spreads love. A Muslim can never harm anyone. There is no violence in Islam. Islam is the religion of justice and accountability. In the name of Islam, any force increases, this is the personal opinion of a person or a group, it has nothing to do with Islam. ISIS is doing the same thing to create differences between Shiite and Sunni in Afghanistan! and it has successfully achieved the goal, but fortunately, our Shiite brothers know that this is a planned work to increase differences between these religions. Thanks to these girls who do not let the crimes of ISIS terrorist group forgotten in the hearts of people.


It is good to make portraits of the victims of the brutal attacks on the Kaj Higher Education Center and other academic centers. The terror that every group and faction does is reprehensible. It is true that the ISIS terrorist group killed the students and scholars of Tebyan Educational Center and Kaj Higher Education Center, but does anyone know which country and which group supported these centers and what they worked for? I say again that killing of school students as well as university students is a heinous and bad act, but there can be two opinions in this regard. First of all, this act of terrorism was carried out by Iran's intelligence agency or IRGC in order to sow the seeds of discord among the people of Afghanistan and show that ISIS, which calls itself supporter of Sunnis has enmity against the Shiites and Hazaras. For this reason, a number of circles supported by Iran say that the Fatemyoun Division, which was created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, will go into action and fight against other ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan. The Second opinion is that, and this is what an Iranian journalist who worked with BBC Persian wrote in a tweet that the Tebyan Center and centers like it are supported by Iran's Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist [Velayat-e-Faqih] and they want to educate the Shiite Hazaras in such a way to represent and support the Iranian regime in the region. This way, Iran wants to expand its revolution to the neighboring countries and


May God remove the shadow of grief from Afghanistan. Afghans are helpless and destitute. They spent their whole life in these difficulties. They did not see the good days of their lives at all. But thanks to God, Afghanistan has comparative security, and everyone can go anywhere they want. I hope for a time when our countrymen have moments of happiness and do not experience other tragedies. The Afghan people are very helpless and poor; poverty has taken away their joy. When such great tragedies come, they take away their happiness from the whole country.


In fact, painting is an expression of the society. I wish a day will come as we draw flowers and beautiful palaces instead of blood and wounds. These days will pass. We hope and wish that God will make our days better. It is true that security has improved in the country as a whole, but unemployment and poor education are things that have created a hole in security. The ruling system must pay serious attention to these two points because sugarcane will soon face many problems and obstacles.