Daily account from the city day 3 and day 4:
Day 3 continued.Just before dusk I saw off one of the last foreigners to leave town for the Serena Inn which was supposed to be a safe haven for the expats. It was a student from London whom I helped with his bags to get on the main road and even tried to stop a car for him, but all was in vain as most of the vehicles sped past with people packed in them. As the sun set, the soldiers could be seen roaming around, exploring the city’s streets and driveways. A group of unarmed young men loitering at a bus stop and discussing the events of the past couple of days were approached by three armed military officers and were told to leave for their homes in a rude way. The men enquiring the reason refused to obey, asking the military to leave instead as it was a residential area and not a field for military practice. They, however, remained on the road, lining themselves up to stop and check any passing civilian vehicles moving in the direction of the Serena Inn which was still not blocked.
At about 22:20, just as our whole family was about to sleep, first, a few short distant rounds of Kalashnikov shots could be heard then a full cannonade joined in shaking all windows in the house. Terrified children and women panicked and some started crying. Once again, memories of the civil war returned at once.It is 00:27 and it’s only getting worse. Now, the elders are panicky too and I am forced to stop here. May God help us!
01:00. It seems that they are taking 30 min breaks between their cannonades. The shooting and shelling continued until 04:00.Day 4.
In the morning people began to look about to discover damages the military inflicted upon peaceful residents. As a result of last night’s attack (as it turned out not on any resistant groups or ‘bandits’ but to insinuate a border violation by imaginary Afghan warlords) three homes were badly damaged and over ten houses had broken windows and bullet marks were seen on the walls and roofs. The inhabitants of these houses, in turn, were harassed by the military in the nights and put against the wall at gun point. A woman in the neighbourhood heard someone noisily walking in her courtyard pulled the curtains away when a soldier shot at her with a pistol. Fortunately, the bullet missed her only sending a piece of broken glass into her face causing a painful wound.The residents chose representatives to approach this outrage to the local government and went for a meeting with the Minister of Defence who is the mastermind behind this operation and is currently placed within the confines of the Special Forces’ unit. Having met with him the local reps came out in disbelief telling people that the Commander in Chief has gone completely mad, saying that no matter what he is going to continue the assault; even if it will cost more civilian casualties. To the last night’s shelling he simply responded that the troops were provoked by an enemy fire.
As I am writing this a number of military helicopters, one of them carrying missiles, have just flew in to Khorog. The word in the streets is that the operation will resume at tomorrow.
It is now 17:42 and a lot of people are now getting their female family members and the children out of Khorog to take them away from the aggression they themselves will have to face once again...