October 19th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Working instead of school, the boy mechanics of Kabul

The grease-covered orange overalls can't hide 14-year-old Nazer Ahmad's frail frame. As he leans under the hood of a wrecked car, torn plastic sandals on his feet, I know I cannot possibly understand the life this young boy is forced to lead in war-torn Afghanistan -
where jobs are few, pay is appalling, and young children must work rather than
go to school and play with their friends.

Nazer is one of the boy mechanics of the Sarai Malim yard in western
Kabul. CNN producer Matiullah Mati has brought me here. As an Afghan, Mati sees
a side of life here that the NATO generals and politicians never see.

There are dozens of young boys here - thin and frail because of a lack
of nutrition brought on by staggering poverty. They are typically brought to
the muddy yard by a male relative. Dozens of ramshackle huts, lean-tos and tiny
one-room buildings house auto mechanics and repair shops where cars, buses and
trucks are brought by local Afghans to be fixed. There is no safety gear.
Welding sparks hit one young boy's eye as Nazer carries large pieces of metal
across the yard. Another young boy struggles under the weight of large pails of
supplies he is carrying.

Nazer agrees to sit for a few minutes to talk to me, with Mati
translating. His words are few. I quickly learn he works ten hours a day, six
days a week. The boss pays him less than a dollar a day. And his wages are the
only income for his family of five. His father was blinded years ago in a
Soviet rocket attack and cannot work. His mother has two other small children
at home. Nazer has had three years of school. Then, last year, his uncle
brought him here.

It takes Nazer one hour to walk from his one-room home to the yard. He
arrives at 7 a.m. and begins to work. He and the boys get a morning and noon
meal. At the end of his ten-hour day, this small boy walks home again, often in
the very lonely dark.

When I ask if he ever plays with friends, I get a heartbreaking answer of
one word: "No." In Nazer's world there is no time for play. He tells me he just
works and there is "no time for fun." He tells me he is happy to have the job
and be able to help his family.

But these boy mechanics of Kabul do have dreams of another life for
themselves - and, remarkably, for their country. Nazer tells me he would like
to go back to school and become a teacher. He says he feels it's a way he can
"serve" his country.

Throughout our chat, Nazer never smiles. Not once.

Across the yard we meet 12-year-old Mohammed Azam inside one of the dark
shops, bent over his cooking pots. His father brings him here to cook for the
workers and then he can go to school. Mohammed says he doesn't want to be a
mechanic. He says he wants to be a doctor so he can "serve society."

Mohammed's father Najibullah has a philosophical outlook tempered by the
reality of life in this country. "Knowledge is good, education is good. But
most of these boys are poor and they must work."

soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. TraderJoe

    You all keep yapping at each other on the subject (religion) that is not related to God in anyway. Its all man made, we made all these religions, so we have something to fight about. Has anyone noticed that all the fuss and fight is going on in the world is based on religion....

    November 5, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Kabul is similar to Mexico and has the same Child Slave problem as NarcoMex corrupting the future of the Many for the greed of the few and causing the eventual movement to anything that will help with this imbalance.

    November 1, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. LarryKegel(US Army)

    How do You expect Them to do the right thing??? When We have Idiots running like the Tea Party!!!

    October 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Val

    Is there a fund or something that you could contribute to help these boys?

    October 29, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. Realla

    Please stop using 'hindu' and 'hinduism' as a catch-all for everything bad and ignorant. The readers of this forum respect hinduism along with other religions, and reject your misusage of these words. You know we don't think the way you do, that is why you are translating your sentences to (semi)sensible English. Just stick to the translations please, and leave out the jabs to Indians that falling flat anyways.

    October 29, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. LarryKegel(US Army)

    I'm Jewish and I think that Buddha way of thinking would be the closes to GODS belief other than Those that goes by GODS Commandments!!!

    October 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Larry Kegal (US army)
      Buddhas Doctrines were ok. (I was a Buddhist earlier) Have meditated four years in a temple. Yet I sinned. Then Jesus appeared to me in dream. It was so real than a dream. I became a better person through his divinity only. Then God anointed me later to heal others. This is not a lie .This is what I have experience. His grace is amazing . God was merciful though I was not that great. After he called my name ..God never abandoned me. There is no body in this world like God.

      October 29, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Iaminthearmy

    I guess the war and what is going on over their is less important than blacks in america being poor, is that new news?

    Why would CNN take the AFGHANISTAN tab off the front page, who cares about blacks in america i want to know how our troops are doing and now i have to go through links to get to these pages.


    October 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      @ Iaminthearmy- "I guess the war and what is going on over their is less important than blacks in america being poor, is that new news?"
      Are you really in the Army? Have you deployed? Probably not or at least not off the FOB. I have been to many countries and I have never seen poverty like Afghanistan anywhere in America, ANYWHERE.

      October 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Because the Rich can't make money off the African Americans that is why!!!

      October 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rose of Sharon

    Someone cannot accept truth and light except by the Holy Spirit drawing them to the truth and teaching them. Also by divine revelation, when God decides to reveal this to an individual according to HIS will and choice of timing.Sometimes Christians pray for their own "will of wants". Pray while you are in the Holy Spirit and you will be praying for issues & things that are completely in his will, not fleshy selfish worldly things because you will be 1 with him. You need to TOTALLY surrender self to the Holy Spirit and all things will be revealed.A lot of people never do this so God doesn't show them much.

    October 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Why should everyone excepted the truth You believe??? What makes You think Your belief is better than anyone else believes in GOD??? I'm Jewish and I believe as long as You believe in GOD that is what counts!!! I don't Think GOD cares what Name You Call Him as long as You believe in Him and live by Gods rules...

      October 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Prophet Mohammed

    @ Honyak- How wrong you are, clearly you have never been to the middle east, religeon and "Honor" is everything over here, they are all Islamic and they pray 5 times a day, ALL OF THEM. Religeon has as much to do with thier lives as eating is to the rest of us. Yes I am glad he is taking a crappy little job working on vehicles for a very lousy wage rather than planting bombs.

    October 24, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      If honor is so big to Them... why do They hide behind others while They do Their killing??? A honorable Person would fight for Their beliefs like Israel and the United States does!!!

      October 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dindy.....sri lanka

    God has given great wisdom for this beautiful child to survive and go on with his life .what a great God we have.!!

    October 23, 2010 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      That is why Who ever tries to kill the Jews and Israel won't be around as long as We will... They either made PEACE with the Jews are They are know longer around!!!

      October 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        Larry Kegal (US army) In the bible God has told to pray for Israel. I do it every day. Out of question we should obey God.

        October 29, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. S Eanwar

    Well said,

    @muffdive, some goons do take this place to vent their hatred or failures in life, how to deal with them, IGNORE, they are't worth ur time . Try it works well.

    October 23, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. DevilDogUSMC

    Also one more thing since you guys believe jesus is god's son, i have one very common sense question then would Adam be a older son of god or better then jesus since he didnt have a mother or father, atleast jesus had a mother Adam didnt have neither. I mean seriously let's be little bit more open minded and think about things before we believe them and analyze everything before we actually read or hear them.

    October 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Jesus was with God before Adam or this world was created . Jesus was a spirit Just like God. They were there. That is why Jesus said if there is no enough rooms in my Fathers place I would tell you about it .when he said it what he mentioned is heaven. God gave the authority to Adam to rule earth. But he listened to Devil. So he gave the Authority to Devil . That is why Devil told Jesus..worship me.. that I will give you all these things . Because Adam had given Devil the Authority what was given to Adam by God.
      Yet Jesus who was the true spirit of God did not agree with Devil though he faced the death on cross. Jesus did not surrender to devil. But faced death as he preached God "s word. That is the truth.

      October 29, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. DevilDogUSMC

    when the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.He will be not presenting his own Ideas.he will be telling you what he has heard.He will tell you about the future. He will bring me(Jesus) glory by revealing to you what ever he receives" That right their he is talking about prophet Mohammed if you guys didn't know bible even tell's you guys about him coming.

    October 22, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Why don't you Jesus Freaks keep it to Your Selves??? Those of us of other Religions are not interested in seeing it!!! You have the nerve to talk about the Muslin... you People talk more about Jesus than They do about their Religion!!!

      October 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      when jesus said it he was talking about the Holy Spirit , Nothing about any human spirit like Mohamed..

      October 29, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • alishadah danyal

      well thank you for posting that i will say takbeer cause anything else would seem a lil too eh hem (cough cough). but the name or mohamed is even mentioned in the hebrew texts. but not really trying to start an arguement lol.

      October 29, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • alishadah danyal

      @dindy even the greek texts do not say spirt but comforter. so i advise any christen to actually stud their religous texts in as close as the original language and if you can not find someone who does i assure you that will will have a whole new understands of what has been attributed to jesus and what has been left out.

      October 29, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dindy.....

    when God look at the world now he look through Jesus . we are in a new covenant . All must repent and reconcile. Jesus has paid a high price for all of our sins. If no repent God will punish the people who do not repent and continue their own ways and telling it is 360 truth.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      If GOD looked through Jesus Eyes... I think GOD would really be disappointed with His People!!! GOD has always help the Jewish People after We suffered a little to take away Our eagles...

      October 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dindy.....

    God"s words and massages were easy to understand after Jesus came to this world. The prophecy was fulfilled after Jesus was born. Salvation came too. When some do not believe it devil tell them his way ,saying to kill .Those days also there were people who did not believe he is God's son. So they nailed him to the cross. These days it is same. Not believing Jesus. This is going to be terrible. 🙁

    October 21, 2010 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Just because They tell You that Jesus was GODS Child doesn't make it true!!! Why would GOD pick Marry and not one of the Other Jewish Woman??? What made Her more Special than the rest of the Virgins???

      October 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Dindy.....

    If the 360 la was working God would not have sent Jesus to the world. La was not working and people were sinning that is why God sent Jesus born to Virgin so he is not mixed with human Blood (Sinful Blood) That is why Jesus is holy and no sin and we ask every thing in his name. There have been a voice from heaven saying "this my son and I am very pleased with him" so he is god"s very special son who lived among people and preached and did most amazing miracles. Now no more sacrifice on cross but the judgment from God only comes in very near future. People must repent and reconcile.

    October 21, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      I guess all the Babies that are born by Women un-wedded Their Children are Children from GOD right??? Her I always thought We were all GODS Children???

      October 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        Larry US ARMY
        .we are God "s creation yet.. some of the children are still prisoners in the promised land as they have not come to salvation. (they dont believe Jesus died on the cross for our sin and raised from dead. God's children can recognize father"s voice. But not other"s.

        October 29, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  17. muffdive

    Where do all these weird comments come from?????????????????

    October 21, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      @ Muffdive (Nice name BTW), you must be new around here. Let me clue you in. These are the CNN Blogs; some people think they are reserved for intelligent conversation- aside from the occaisional fluke, Not so, if you are looking for intelligent thought, buy a news paper. Others think it is the perfect forum to force thier religeon upon others, you will see a lot of that here. While others still (and my personal favorite) is the CNN Blogs are a magical land created by Gnomes where you are free to offend all racres, religeons and countries and generally just make an @ss of yourself. Enjoy.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Rose of Sharon

        People should respect others beliefs: I sometimes wonder if Elohiem-God-Mohammed-Allah-Yahweh-Jesus- and spiritual heads of different religions, their prophets, are in a spiritual meeting room sitting @ a big round table together watching this big Fiasco going on down here on Earth. I'm sure that their goal for mankind is peace and unity but LOOK at the mess on this planet, all the fighting, killing, garbage strewn all over these lands. Nobody can hear what God is saying because everyone's still fighting amongst each other, thus no peace for anyone, no message for anyone. Jesus said, Peace, be still.

        October 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        @ Rose of Sharon- Yes you are absolutely right and that's the biggest joke of all. ALL religeons think they are the only one who is right despite the fact most of them pretty much believe in the same things, just by different names.

        October 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Can't You tell how much They are Racist??? You see them talking against everyone know matter Who They are talking about unless they are White Catholics!!!

      October 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Rose 0f Sharon: Just because Your Bible says that is how Jesus felt... Doesn't Mean that is how Jesus really felt!!! Do You really Think Jesus said put me on the cross so I can take the Sins from My Believers??? I really Doubt it Myself!!!

        October 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Liar, He does reveal Himself as the Christ quite a few times, I know when He was in trial with Pilate but you can read for yourself in Luke chapter 9 verses 20 through 22 when He asks his twelve disciples who they think He is!

    October 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Nicole

    boy his age should be in school not working.

    October 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Eanwar

      What school? if he happens to be in Kabul yes but anything outside is ruins, under wave after wave of bombings since 1979. Guess what, it goes on and on.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        NATO has been building\rebuilding schools all over Afghanistan for years and many do go to school, even women now. School was never really important in the Afghan culture becuase being able to read and write often meant you had opinions and it could attract unwanted attention. Being able to read people and BS them if need be was much more pertinent to survival, also sending your children to school tends to be less important when you are struggling to put food on the table.

        October 24, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  20. The Prophet Mohammed

    @ Dan in Lafayette, IN- "I know that a Muslim told me that your main man was illiterate and i am sure that he also said the he married a nine year old girl so that he would not dishonor his family."

    Why to you have to keep bringing up old stuff? I have been educated and reformed since then (and now have that Dammed sign in my yard in California), give me a break, I'm trying.

    October 20, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  21. The Prophet Mohammed

    @ Dan- you sound like you are getting a little angry with Yabobi the fool, what gives? Could it be he doesn't go to the same church as you? I guess he must be a sinner- or as Yobobi would put it, an Infidel?

    October 20, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  22. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Jesus was never illiterate in fact the Holy Spirit was with Him from heaven to the virgin Mary's womb to the cross to this day and throughout eternity!!!

    October 20, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  23. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    girl so that he would not dishonor his family.

    October 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    I know that a Muslim told me that your main man was illiterate and i am sure that he also said the he married a nine year old

    October 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    I know that a Muslim told

    October 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Peter was his closest disciple and there were only twelve and Barnebas was not one of them. The last supper was accompanied by the twelve and is when Jesus acknowledged Judas as His betrayer. Your truth of 360 degrees is packed full of lies and shows that the Koran is not from God but from false prophets like Mohamed who was an illiterate that married a nine year old girl which would make him a child molester!

    October 19, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dan in Lafayette, IN



    Dan in Lafayette, IN

    So you believe in the Gospel of Barnebas but you disavow Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. And also the writings of Peter, Paul and let us not forget the Prophet John. Who is this Barnebas, I have not heard of him until now? Was he of Jewish descent or Hebrew as you would call them? Was his descendants from Isaac or Ishmael? I am not a racist or anything, I just want to know if he was one of Gods chosen or not. But I guess you believe that only Muslims are God's chosen huh?

    October 19, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    So you believe in the Gospel of Barnebas but you disavow Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. And also the writings of Peter, Paul and let us not forget the Prophet John. Who is this Barnebas, I have not heard of him until now? Was he of Jewish descent or Hebrew as you would call them? Was his descendants from Isaac or Ishmael? I am not a racist or anything, I just want to know if he was one of Gods chosen or not.

    October 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Din or sharia is not work it is law dummy! Jesus meant what was from the heart that you had done for someone you idiot!

    October 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Joseph McCarthy

    I can say this; If the Communists stayed in power,this young man would be in school now building toward his future instead of on the streets hustling for a living.

    October 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      You got that right,Joe! That would've been the best thing that could've happen to Afghanistan!

      October 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      It doesn't speak much for Afghanistan's future (the lack of education for the children) but at least they are making an honest living and contributing to society and therefore not a target for the Taliban to earn some "quick cash" as a sucide bomber or IED planter.

      October 20, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        The Communist of today are more like being the Democracy than the Communist way of thing!!!

        October 28, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Is that Why the US is trying to keep the Poor American People that way??? So that They can make this a 3rd world Country??? Because if the Tea Party get into office that is what They will try to do to this Country!!!

        October 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Eanwar

      Joseph u broke the silence, Some one actually has some thing to CONTRIBUTE here, the on going goons chatter is an insult to what the comments were originally meant to serve.

      On the subject matter, yes what most people forget that since 1979 the country is in war, no schools, no commerce. But lets us ensure that this kids next generation will have the opportunity to go to a decent school, and build a future for himself.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  31. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Why don't you tell that to this poor boy's father who is disabled and cannot work because of Soviet aggression and expansionism which now the Islamic extremists have taken over their evil misdeeds!

    October 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      If Bin Laden is taken alive it will just confirm what all the rest of us already know, he's a punk coward. He did say he will never be taken alive but will be a Martyr (i.e "Just as Dead") and he has people around him whose sole purpose is to shoot him if he's in danger of being captured.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |