Slain in a Taliban attack: The story of Hanifa Saadat

One week before Afghanistan's Presidential Election, my team and I were filming at a police checkpoint when a suicide blast went off nearby. The Taliban had staged an attack against a Kabul guesthouse used by Afghans and foreigners. By the time we arrived to the scene, the insurgents were holed up inside and a gunfight was underway.

Maryam Saadat holds a photograph of herself and Hanifa. PHOTO BY LUCY KAFANOV

It could have been a much bloodier day. The insurgents apparently thought they were attacking an unprotected daycare center run by Western families. They got the wrong house. But there were casualties. Officials said that an Afghan child was killed in the attack, apparently a mere passerby. It took some work, but we were able to locate the family of the victim. They were kind enough to let us into their home and to share their story.

Hanifa Saadat was no child. She was a talented, passionate young woman who cared deeply about the welfare of others. She was getting ready to graduate from school to become a doctor. In her spare time, Hanifa worked with the IEC. She was too young to vote in the last election, but this time she was determined to make her mark.

Eight days before the vote, Hanifa finished her shift at the election office. Her older brother was waiting to escort her back home. It was a crisp and sunny day. They were crossing a quiet street in the Karte-Char neighborhood of Kabul when the explosion hit.

Hanifa died because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time -- another innocent victim, caught in the crossfire of a war that wasn't hers. This is her story: