When people die – especially people from a different country with different customs – in a terror attack, we typically don’t see them as warm-blooded individuals, as family or friends. We don’t know what their laugh sounded like, or remember a wisp of hair lifted by a breeze.
But a victim of Wednesday’s attack on American University in Kabul was a good friend to broadcaster Hasib Alikozai, who remembered him on Facebook.
Alikozai wrote about giving his friend, Naqib Ahmad Khpulwak, a lift to the airport. Khpulwak had just finished a program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a think-tank funded by Congress "to manage international conflict without violence,” according to their website.
Khpulwak was hopping a flight to Afghanistan with a law degree from Stanford University behind him and a Ph.D. program at Oxford University before him.
But first he wanted to return to Afghanistan.
He said that life was full of meaning for him in Afghanistan, that he wanted to do his part and make a difference.
“You may have student debt in the U.S.,” he reminded Alikozai about his tuition for degrees achieved at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities. But “I have a debt to 30 million people who invested in my future. I have a moral responsibility to pay that debt off.”
So Khpulwak headed back home, to American University in Afghanistan (AUAF), where he taught with passion and enthusiasm, Alikozai said. Oxford would come later.
Wednesday night, 10 hours after it started, an attack on AUAF in Kabul had killed one professor, seven students, two security guards, and three members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.
Khpulwak was that professor.
SU Editor Kathleen Struck contributed to this report.