(Pajhwok): A 12-year-old boy, who sells junk scavenged from garbage heaps, says “I wish our leaders reconcile so that no other child like me becomes orphaned and is forced to collect discarded waste.” The boy, Nasir Ahmad, is a resident of Gerizwan district of Faryab province, but last year after the killing of his father, a policeman, in a fight with the Taliban, he migrated to Shiberghan, the capital of neighbouring Jawzjan province. Ahmad said he was studying in class 5th when his father was killed. He was studying in one of schools in Gerizwan district and had a happy life. The ongoing conflict in the country has snatched happiness of thousands of children like Ahmad by claiming the lives of their beloved family members. Ahmad’s father was the only breadwinner in the family but he was killed in a face to face firefight with the Taliban. A Pajhwok reporter approached Ahmad when he was busy in collecting garbage in Shiberghan. He said: “My father was a policeman. He was very brave and fought with the Taliban face to face but last year in September he was martyred in fighting with the Taliban.” Ahmad’s fingers were shaking due to the severity of cold weather and he would warm his figures by blowing hot air from his mouth. After his father’s death, an influential person of the locality tried to get married his mother by force, but he and his mother managed to escape from the influential person’s siege. Ahmad said his four brothers and one sister were still being held captive by that person. Since fleeing home, they have been living in their uncle’s house in Shiberghan. Ahmad visits different areas of the city daily and collects garbage. “I daily collect garbage, separate papers and some other materials for fire and sell bottles and dried bread for 50 to 70 afghanis on which I buy bread and sugar.” Ahamd said at times he fell sick as he collected garbage and faced with dirt and gases. Affected by war and going through unfortunate incidents, Ahmad still leads a difficult life. In his childish voice, he said: “If there was no fighting, I would not have become orphan and instead of collecting garbage, I would have been in school.” He repeated his hatred for war and insecurity in the country and said: “I wish our leaders reconcile so that no other child meet my fate and no child is forced to collect garbage.” He said: “I want peace, fighting is enough, if peace returns to the country, I want to become an officer like my father and serve the country.” Masouda, Ahmad’s mother, said: “After the killing of my husband, the problematic part of our life started.” Suffering from immense grief and sorrow, Masouda said she was unaware of the condition of her captive children in Faryab. “My son Ahmad is collecting garbage in the city, I sew carpet and through this way we live.” She asked the armed opponents to end the ongoing conflict that unleashed miseries and misfortunes and so that she and other families could live with their families. This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP.