Afghan woman resumes career after stabbing
Story by Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
The woman walked into the garden with small, careful steps and the help of a cane. The people gathered there greeted her with applause as she slowly made her way to a chair.
Muzhgan Masoomi survived a brutal attempt on her life. The 22-year-old was on the way to work at the Ministry of Public Works in the early morning hours of March 28. A man wielding a large knife attacked Masoomi and her sister. The sister received minor stab wounds but Masoomi took the brunt of the attack.
“On the day when [Masoomi] was stabbed, she and her sister were immediately taken to a local hospital close to her home,” said Sohail Kaakar, Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program director at the MPW. “When we went to the hospital to see her, she was just operated on by the doctors. [Masoomi] started crying, saying ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be alive in a few days time.’”
At first, doctors told Kaakar it would be three to four months before they could determine if Masoomi would walk again.
“I asked if they can do anything for her feet because [her condition] was really serious, and they said there are no facilities here to treat such patients,” Kaakar said. “At the time, I thought ‘Well if the facilities are not available here in Afghanistan and her father is still in Saudi Arabia, she won’t be able to walk again because she doesn’t have good financial status at home. So it was really a surprise for me to see her walk again today.”
On the day of the attack, Kaakar attended a meeting with the Force Reintegration Cell at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters. Elaine Kofa, an advisor with the FRIC who engages frequently with the MPW and is a friend of Masoomi, asked Kaakar how Masoomi was doing. After learning of the attack, Kofa decided to take action.
“Two days later with the support of superiors, I was able to get approval to transfer Masoomi to an ISAF hospital,” Kofa said. “I knew I was taking a risk. We had been told by local doctors there was a great chance we may lose her, so my primary goal was getting her there.”
In an e-mail sent to Kofa the day after the transfer, Kaakar reported that the doctors there said if Masoomi had not been transferred she would have lost her life due to an incomplete operation. While Masoomi’s story is not unique here in Afghanistan, Kofa said helping her recover is part of a bigger picture of empowering all Afghan women.
“[Masoomi’s survival] empowers me but it also tells me we are making a difference and this is what it’s about,” Kofa said. “It wasn’t enough to just read about [attacks in the news], but knowing somebody who was impacted, then here’s our chance at ISAF to help someone. That’s what it was about for me.”
During a small ceremony at ISAF HQ, Masoomi thanked her friends and colleagues gathered there.
“I want to give thanks to all ISAF members for helping me, and I also appreciate the efforts of my colleagues at the ministry,” said Masoomi. “Many thanks for the contributions from everybody.”
When asked if the attack will deter her from working again, Masoomi was quick to reply.
“I would love to go back to work when I’m better, but right now I’m still recovering,” she said.
Kofa applauds her friend’s determination to continue living and working in Afghanistan in spite of the attack.
“It’s about giving hope and courage and being defiant in the face of it all. This is for the ones who will probably be attacked in the future,” said Kofa.
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This entry was posted on Friday, August 10th, 2012 at 9:48 am and is filed under War on Terror, Afghanistan, War on Terror, Afghanistan, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.