By Akhtar M. Nikzad
One should not consider ‘hero’ only those who are working in movies or earning titles in sports competitions because the real heroes are those who save lives in real life without showing any gratitude or caring for themselves. One of such brave men and real hero in Afghanistan is Abdul Ghafoor Afghan Yaar. He is working at the bomb disposal squad of the Afghan National Police.
He saved thousands of innocent lives while defusing more than 6,000 roadside mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Helmand province. Afghan Yaar, 24 years old, has joined police force four years ago. He went through tough trainings for two months to learn how to defuse explosive devices. He went through training at a center next to ISAF military base in Girishk district of Helmand province. However, equipping oneself with skills for such difficult and life-threatening job in short term is quite difficult but for last three years he is working and neutralizing bombs and IEDs without adequate and modern tools. Despite that he is called a hero by people.
Since the day he resumed duty, Afghan Yaar defused around 6,000 explosive devices. As per estimates one explosion claims at least four lives. Thus, he saved more than 24,000 people.
Afghan Yaar’s duty is full of danger because he is always struggling with death for life when defusing a bomb to save the life of innocent people and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Four years of experience in the bomb disposal unit taught him how to work patiently— day and night. The anti-Afghan government elements always plant roadside bombs and IED to target civil and military officials. Mines are posing great threat to the Afghan security forces and coalition forces, especially in operations against militants in the country. Thus, Afghan Yaar’s services have been very significant for Minister of Interior in the last three years.
The length gaining war in Afghanistan is made more dangerous by explosions that daily take lives of innocent people in deferent parts of the country. Skilled bombs defusing unit is vital to reduce casualties. Afghan Yaar has two colleagues in the unit who help him during search for mines and IEDs to defuse the hidden life-taking enemies. One of his two friends is Ghulam Farooq and another Mohammad Nabi who provide needed help to Afghan Yaar and play very important role at critical situation.
Yaar also trained 12 border police in order to save the life of soldiers during operation against militants in Helmand province. He wants to transfer his skills to others. Therefore, he is still training other policemen who would one day be part of the squad. He wants to train many policemen in next five years.
“I don’t know how long I will be alive to save lives of my people from hidden mines, because every minute in this field is considered life minute of life. Hence, I will like to train other policemen. Without tools members of the squad never dare to defuse bombs but I want to encourage them to neutralize the IEDs without any modern defusing tools,” he told Kabulscape.
He said that defusing mines is very complicated job because anti-government elements use different tactics and methods when making improvised explosive devices. “Hence, without modern tools, defusing mines and IEDs is very difficult but despite insufficient equipments we defuse daily 20 to 40 explosive devices at the frontline in different areas of Girish and Sangin districts,” he said.
One of the challenges in defusing roadside mines for Afghan Yaar is neutralizing of remote controlled explosive devices because the squad lack modern equipment. They defuse other than remote controlled explosive devices within 10 minutes.
When asked about reason behind his devotion, he replied that working hard is only option for him to defend Afghanistan’s sovereignty and defeat insurgents while saving life of people. “I am proud of my job and will not hesitate to die for my motherland in the line of duty. I ask the Taliban and other insurgent groups to stop planting explosive devices as innocent people are more prone to IEDs and mines. Conflict is not a solution,” he said.
In his message to the militant groups, Afghan Yaar said, “If you are real Afghans then please join the peace process and play your role for development of Afghanistan. Defend the country against enemy.”
Afghan Yaar is a famous policeman as he is always on the frontline in Helmand province. People and police force always call him ‘hero’ for his matchless contribution in the fight against insurgents, because he fight hidden threats. When he passes a road with military convoy, people loudly say “Afghan Yaar! You are the true hero and gallant policeman! May God be your Protector”.
While sharing his memories with Kabulscape, Afghan Yaar said that one day people contacted police and informed about an improvised explosive device which was placed under a bridge. The locals said that police should not come quickly as the IED could explode anytime and may kill many people.
“We went there with a huge contingent of police surrounding the area. There was a box with different lines connected. First of all we cut all the lines after that we wanted to explode the device but despite too much effort it did not explode. It took several hours. Then our patience ended. Inevitably we opened the box but there was some dust. The box was placed by youths to make us fool,” he narrated with a bright smile on his face as it happened few minutes ago.
Though, the Afghan officials given some gifts to him but these minors thing could be termed even an equal to Afghan Yaar’s one day service in which he saves many lives. However, it is a way to thank him and tell him that how much he is important for us and how much we love him. As responsible citizens it is also duty of Afghans to thank at the least the hero in a way easy for them and which could help other people as well to come forward and defend the motherland and save humanity.
Moreover, the Ministry of Interior should promote him in order to encourage people like Afghan Yaar.