Nikbakht, a woman who was imprisoned by her brother in a small, dark room 25 years ago during the first phase of the Taliban administration’s rule, was released with the help of local people and security officials during the second phase at around the age of 50.
In 1998, when she was a young woman 25, Nikbakht was imprisoned in a small, dark room resembling the prison by her brother for reasons that have not been definitively determined. She spent 25 years in this dark room, receiving inadequate food daily through a hole in one part of the cell.
About a week ago, she was transferred to a hospital near Kabul with the help of local people and security officials. Nikbakht has been under special care for about a week but can still speak. She vaguely says, “Do not blame my brother,” but the doctors cannot fully understand her.
Ghulam Sakhi, Nikbakht’s brother responsible for all these misfortunes, confessed his crimes, saying, “I am originally from Sheikh Ali District in Parwan Province. My sister had a neurological problem and was imprisoned by me for 25 years.”
Ghulam Sakhi and his three sons have been detained in connection with this case and are currently under interrogation by the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Afghanistan.
Abdul Rahim Ajmal, the officer of Kabul’s 10th security district, tells the Khaama Press News Agency that about a week ago, security forces, in cooperation with residents, rescued this lady from the Charadihi area within the jurisdiction of the 10th security district.
This security official believes that the reason for the confinement of this lady at home was due to domestic disputes. He adds, “Nikbakht was abandoned by her husband before she was imprisoned due to ‘childlessness,’ and afterwards, her cruel brother kept her confined in a room without doors or ventilation, where she spent 25 years on the bare ground.”
Nikbakht is now almost unable to speak, having endured 25 years directly in darkness amidst filth and squalor. Interestingly, she somehow wants security officials not to harm her brother.
Ms Nikbakht has spent this long period constantly confined in a dark room, never able to see the light or breathe fresh air.
Khadem Hossein Hosseini, in charge of the area, considers Ghulam Sakhi incompatible with his neighbours and says they were unaware of these events over the past 25 years.
He continues, “Children playing in the lane noticed that there was a lady named Nikbakht in a dark room and informed us about the situation.”
Nikbakht is currently under medical care in one of the government hospitals, and doctors say her health is gradually improving.
Sohaila, a doctor at the government hospital in Wazir Akbar Khan, says, “On the first day when they brought the patient, she could not speak. She behaved like a child, and her bones were damaged, but her health improved.”
Although domestic violence in Afghanistan is one of the most pervasive forms of violence against women, Nikbakht’s suffering is heartbreaking.