Herndon Father of Five Killed by Taliban in Afghanistan

by Fatimah Waseem February 6, 2018 at 11:15 am 10 Comments

Rahim Barak, a 58-year-old father of five, was killed by Taliban insurgents during a chaotic siege at Kabul’s largest hotel last month. It was the first time the U.S. citizen, who lived in Herndon for the last 17 years, visited his home country in 30 years.

Three other U.S. citizens were killed in the Jan. 20 attack. Insurgents stormed the Intercontinental Hotel, a prominent hilltop hotel often visited by foreign guests and envoys. Barak was found with a single gunshot to the head. Others were found with burnt bodies and missing body parts. Hundreds of other guests spend the night hiding in rooms, unsure if they would survive the night.

Minutes before the incident, Barak had taken a photo with two friends as they dined at the hotel. The picture is the last possession his family has of him when he was alive.

Political turmoil and conflict caused by the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Afghanistan pushed Barak to flee from his home. He sought refuge in Peshawar, Pakistan and came to the United States in the late 1980s to build a new life for himself and his family.

Leaving behind his studies in law, Barak took up a motley of jobs at a pizza restaurant, Dulles International Airport, Marriott and a movie theater, working long hours and six days a week at one point. Family members and friends remember him for his loving personality and generous nature.

Barak later married his wife of 22 years and had five children. The youngest is six. Most recently, he worked as a cab driver and a travel agent.

His eldest son, Fawad Barak, 21, describes his father as a “people’s champ” who was always ready to offer a helping hand and sacrificed his life “for the betterment of his family, children, and loved ones.”

“There were very few moments where he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor but most of his life, especially since the war in Afghanistan, he aimed to seek a better life for his family and children,” his son said. “I remember my father would always tell me that the sweat, toil and tears that he put in for his family will soon be relieved when his eldest child graduated from college and so forth with his other children following his footsteps.”

His father’s dream is now coming close to reality. His eldest son is wrapping up his junior year at George Mason University. In meantime, his son hopes to pass down the dreams and passions that drove his father’s hard work to his siblings.

“I am blessed and grateful to have been in a presence of such a beautiful human being, and most of all for him to be my father will be the greatest honor bestowed upon me while I’m on this earth,” he said.

Barak is survived by five children and his wife. Hundreds attended funeral services at All Dulles Area Muslim Society center in Herndon several weeks ago. He was known for regularly attending pre-dawn prayers at the mosque.

“The amount of love and support from the community we have received and the attendance at his funeral services displays a true testament of his character and who he truly was,” his son said.

A LaunchGood campaign for the family has raised $11,343 since it was launched on Feb. 1.

Photos via Fawad Barak

  • Why do you bother?

    Since when is “motely” a verb? Or even a word?

    • Kristen

      Your compassion is overwhelming. So glad that among the sadness of the story being told you were able to pull yourself away from any hint of human compassion, to instead focus and comment on the use of a somewhat uncommon noun (yes, a real word and no, not a verb). My condolences go out to the family. Your father sounds like he was a lovely person and I am sure he will be greatly missed.

      • Why do you bother?

        At best, it’s an adjective.

        The poor writing of this story makes it jarring to read. What happened is horrifying – that should go without saying.

        • Why do you suck?

          “a motley of …” makes it a noun in this case. You first thought it was a verb, and now you think it’s an adjective. I heard there’s website called . You could use it next time before you post…

      • The Constitutionalist

        Does anyone see the irony here?

    • Reston Realist

      This was a pretty well written story and the author did a great job describing the issues involved — there is no reason to be such a jerk towards her.

    • ah

      I do understand what you mean about being all over the place. I was trying to understand if he held all of those jobs at once, and if he married his wife before or after entering the US, since they had just mentioned all of ths job it was confusing.

      All in all, yes it is a sad story, especially in this day and age when immigration reform is such a hot topic.

      • Rose B.

        This is the same man as Rahim Bariek of Herndon, Virginia, who pled guilty in 2005 to running an illegal money transfer business. The business transferred millions of dollars overseas, including to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2003. He used different surnames with various spellings.

  • The Constitutionalist

    Out of curiosity, (I think I already know the answer) will there ever be an article about any of our Northern Virginia Military members who die fighting the Taliban?

    • QRow

      Might be something for YOU to consider.


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