Tearful kin receive Kabul victim's body

Tearful kin receive Kabul victim's body

She was happy with her assignment in Kabul in strife-torn Afghanistan and eagerly looking forward to return home on Saturday. But it was not to be.

“Normally people are happy about return of their dear ones from a war-torn country but I never wanted her to arrive like this,” said Rajesh Tandon as he received the coffin containing the body of his wife Martha Farrell brought from Kabul on Friday.

Martha was killed in a Taliban attack on a guest house in Kabul late on Wednesday night.
Rajesh had spoken to his wife just minutes before the deadly strike.

Working as a Director with Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), an NGO which focuses on empowerment of the poor and the excluded in the country and internationally, 56-year-old Martha had gone to Afghanistan for a workshop on gender sensitisation on an invitation from the Aga Khan Trust.

She was visiting Kabul in connection with a training programme on gender mainstreaming and was providing support to Afghan officials and NGO workers.

“She spoke to me around 8.30 PM. I guess that was minutes before Taliban carried out an attack on the guest house. She was extremely happy and satisfied with her work and briefed me,” recalls Tandon, who is the co-founder and President of PRIA.

Four Indians were among 14 people killed in a Taliban attack on a guest house in Kabul on Wednesday night. This area was popular among expats.

She said that she will come on Saturday after spending a day with her friends on Friday. “Wish she could have stuck to her words,” says Tandon with a choked voice. This was Martha’s sixth visit to Afghanistan.

That was the last time he spoke to her, not aware of the fate in store that this could be the last time that he was hearing her voice. “I wish I could have talked more,” he said.

The sombre mood at the office reflected her absence. “She used to look after everyone of us. She had strong opinions about gender bias and wanted equal rights for women across the globe,” recalls Nandita, Manager with PRIA and closely associated with Martha.

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