In Kabul clinic, Taliban and the soldiers they fought confront wounds of war By Reuters


© Reuters. Taliban fighter Abdul Qayum from Helmand province walks subsequent to former a soldier from the previous Afghan Military Khair Mohammad who misplaced each legs in a mine blast throughout a session to get used to their new leg prothesis at a rehabilitation middle in Kabul, Afghan


By Jorge Silva

KABUL (Reuters) – Former Taliban fighter Mohammad Ishaq, who spent years battling Western troops and native forces in Afghanistan, misplaced his leg in fight and is now studying to stroll with a brand new limb. Standing close to him at a Kabul clinic is likely one of the troopers he defeated.

Within the Pink Cross Hospital in Kabul, Ishaq spoke merely of the eight years he spent in Helmand, the southern province the place a number of the fiercest combating of the struggle came about and the place hundreds of civilians and combatants have been killed and maimed.

“For years we fought towards the infidels and we defeated them and I used to be injured,” he mentioned, sporting the standard black turban worn by many Taliban throughout their 20-year insurgency.

That insurrection turned to conquest in August when the hardline Islamist militants superior on Kabul and seized the capital. On the identical time, the final international troops have been withdrawing and what little resistance there was from native Afghan forces rapidly wilted.

Ishaq waited as an teacher fitted a brand new synthetic limb to exchange the left leg he misplaced to a bullet wound, earlier than striding throughout the lengthy train corridor watched by medical employees and sufferers from each side of the battle.

With Afghanistan in deep financial disaster and its well being service in disarray, the Pink Cross, with many years of expertise treating the struggle’s victims, is likely one of the few centres that may provide prosthetic limbs.

“They assist all folks in want; regardless of the folks want they supply,” Ishaq mentioned.

The employees are used to treating Taliban fighters, mentioned Alberto Cairo, an Italian physiotherapist with three many years of expertise in Afghanistan who leads the orthopaedic programme for the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross (ICRC).

    “There have been Taliban coming right here, however only a few and secretly. Now they arrive very overtly, so we’ve many, on daily basis 10-15, they arrive for various causes,” he mentioned. “We assist them like we assist everyone.”


The centre, certainly one of seven the Pink Cross operates in Afghanistan, helps folks with pure disabilities in addition to the struggle wounded, and has continued working because the Taliban victory, treating all comers equally.

“There have been no modifications in comparison with how we labored earlier than, every thing is regular. Simply as sufferers got here earlier than they arrive now,” mentioned Malalai, a feminine physiotherapist who has labored on the centre for the previous 10 years.

Not like many Afghan ladies pressured from their jobs because the Taliban returned to energy, she has been allowed to hold on.

Whereas Ishaq tried out his new leg, members of the previous Afghan Nationwide Military sat in the identical corridor wanting on alongside wounded Taliban fighters, all victims of a battle that has killed and wounded tens of hundreds of Afghans over 4 many years.

However there was no victory to ease the struggling of defeated troopers from the ousted administration, a few of whose leaders fled when the Taliban approached Kabul and left the town to its destiny.

Mohammad Tawfiq, a former soldier from Panjshir province within the north of the nation was paralyzed from the waist down after a Taliban ambush wherein he was the one survivor of his three-man patrol.

He has spent the final three years in mattress and nonetheless wants assist to face up.

As he took within the morning solar, he was philosophical about being handled alongside his former enemies and needed to be left alone to place the struggle behind him.

But after so a few years of bloodshed it was laborious to banish doubts concerning the future.

“The struggle is over for me, my struggle is over,” he mentioned. “I need to dwell in a peaceable atmosphere. I can speak to anybody now. However I do not suppose they’ll rule for a very long time.”

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