•   
  •   

World Fixing lives and limbs through decades of war in Afghanistan

09:50  20 september  2021
09:50  20 september  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

It is time we remember Afghan men are also victims of this war

  It is time we remember Afghan men are also victims of this war Despite being taken, tortured and killed for decades, Afghan men are seen as potential security threats in the West.“The Taliban’s Return is Awful for Women”, says the Atlantic. “Women in Afghanistan Fear Return to a Repressive Past Under Taliban” reports the New York Times. “Afghanistan: Why there are grave fears for women” is the title for a Sky News story.

After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan – a campaign that lasted 20 years and took the greatest toll on Afghan civilians. Photojournalist Ricardo Garcia Vilanova covered Afghanistan between 2007 and 2011. He writes about photographing those trying to help amidst the conflict.

Bashir, an Afghan physiotherapist, treats a patient with a prosthetic limb during a house visit in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova] © Provided by Al Jazeera Bashir, an Afghan physiotherapist, treats a patient with a prosthetic limb during a house visit in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova]

The first memory I have of Afghanistan is arriving in the capital Kabul before dawn on a flight via Frankfurt. It was 2007 and I had been working for several years in Haiti before I decided to go to Afghanistan as a freelancer, without any real assignment. Once in the country, I was lucky to get work with American publications, which allowed me to continue travelling back and forth.

How Kabul became an evacuation bottleneck and a prime terror target: The Last 96

  How Kabul became an evacuation bottleneck and a prime terror target: The Last 96 How did Kabul fall to the Taliban so quickly, and why was it the only practical way out of Afghanistan?America’s war in Afghanistan ended in calamity. Around 120,000 people were evacuated from Kabul in just a matter of days, but the herculean, if chaotic effort made the airport a prime target for a terrorist attack that killed nearly 200, including 13 U.S. service members.

That first day, I left the terminal in darkness, watching as several soldiers stood guard on the periphery of the airport between barbed wire fences and concrete blast walls set up to protect the airport from car bombs. Unlike other airports, there were no taxis or any alternative means of transportation. It seemed I had no option but to sleep there until the next morning. But then a fellow passenger from my flight, an NGO worker, offered me a lift to my guesthouse in a convoy of two armoured cars.

It was winter, the night was cold and there was no electricity. As we drove, the streets were dark and deserted and several checkpoints manned by Afghan Forces marked the different access points to the city.

The outlook seemed bleak. Even though there was no active war in Kabul, there was elsewhere in the country, so the atmosphere in the capital was one of latent war. For many Afghans, this was a feeling they seemed to have normalised.

Brother of Afghanistan's former vice president 'shot dead by Taliban' in Panjshir province

  Brother of Afghanistan's former vice president 'shot dead by Taliban' in Panjshir province Rohullah Azizi - the brother of Afghanistan's former vice president - has been shot dead by the Taliban, his nephew has said. Mr Azizi, the brother of Amrullah Saleh, was travelling in the northern Panjshir province when his car was stopped by Taliban fighters at a checkpoint."As we hear at the moment Taliban shot him and his driver at the checkpoint," Shuresh Saleh said.Mr Azizi was an anti-Taliban fighter and his nephew said it was unclear where he was headed when the Taliban stopped him.He added phones were not working in the area.

People wait their turn at the entrance to the Ali Abad Orthopaedic Centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova] © Provided by Al Jazeera People wait their turn at the entrance to the Ali Abad Orthopaedic Centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova]

For decades, even before the so-called “war on terror”, Afghans had known conflict. Twenty years prior, the country was embroiled in a civil war between the forces of the National Army, supported by Russia, and the Mujahideen rebels.

Then, as in later conflicts, humanitarians arrived to help with aid and medical care.

In 1988, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) set up the Ali Abad Orthopaedic Centre in the capital, to provide physical rehabilitation and artificial limbs for the war wounded who had been victims of fighting, landmines and bombs.

Two years after that, in 1990, Italian physiotherapist Alberto Cairo arrived to work at the centre. More than three decades later, he has not left, deciding to spend his life helping those affected by Afghanistan’s decades-long conflicts.

Exclusive: Legalized by Trump, Uyghur Separatists See Biden as Ally in Fight Against China

  Exclusive: Legalized by Trump, Uyghur Separatists See Biden as Ally in Fight Against China "We hope that not only the U.S. government but also all countries and all people will take action against the Chinese government," a Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson told Newsweek.As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 passed Saturday, the lingering blowback of the unprecedented attacks remains with the United States in a myriad of ongoing measures adopted in tandem with the still-raging "war on terror.

Three decades of care

I met Alberto on my first trip to Kabul. The then-55-year-old director of the orthopaedic centre was personable, outgoing, courteous and attentive as he went about his work.

My first thought upon meeting him was to wonder how someone could dedicate themselves to helping others without expecting anything in return, living cut off from everything he once considered a normal part of his life in the West. But he is part of that nucleus of people who altruistically try to help others, and that is his mission and legacy in life.

a man in a dark room: One of the recovery rooms at the ICRC centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova] © Provided by Al Jazeera One of the recovery rooms at the ICRC centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova]

Alberto told me that it was in 1992 when he met the man who changed his life – and whose example would go on to change the lives of thousands of others, people who have passed through the ICRC centres for treatment and those who have worked there.

The man Alberto met was called Mahmood. He had no legs and one arm. He was in the middle of the street in a wheelchair, trying to escape a nearby explosion with his youngest son.

Roadmap for Stability in Afghanistan | Opinion

  Roadmap for Stability in Afghanistan | Opinion It is Pakistan's hope that the international community will be able to develop an agreed approach to respond to the new realities in Afghanistan. A fractured and competitive approach will squander the opportunity of promoting peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and the entire region.Ambassador Munir Akram is a permanent representative of Pakistan at the United Nations.The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

Although fighting had ravaged the capital, causing the orthopaedic centre to close, Alberto invited Mahmood in for treatment. After a while, Mahmood was up and about with the help of his new prosthetics.

Once Alberto was able to reopen the centre, Mahmood started working there too.

Since then, it has been Alberto’s policy to hire people who had been rehabilitated at the centre.

A crucial service

The Ali Abad Orthopaedic Centre is in downtown Kabul and has a view of the mountains that frame the city.

Its main entrance opens onto a closed deck, where people wait when it is cold or raining. On sunny days when the temperature allows it, people sit on large benches or in a yard that surrounds it. There they wait their turn for treatment, which is offered completely free of charge.

Inside the building, there are large rehabilitation rooms, some like a gym where physiotherapists do exercises with patients who already have some mobility, and others where patients go through an initial phase of care. Depending on the type of disability, a specific treatment is designed for each patient.

Over the decades, the orthopaedic centre expanded its operations, opening new locations to help even more patients – there are now seven specialised centres across the country. Each year, some 10,000 Afghans enrol with the ICRC for prosthetics and physical rehabilitation and the centres have supported more than 178,000 patients with care, the NGO says.

'Fatally Flawed': GOP Congressman Tells Blinken to Resign As Afghanistan Hearing Heats Up

  'Fatally Flawed': GOP Congressman Tells Blinken to Resign As Afghanistan Hearing Heats Up Representative Lee Zeldin called the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan "fatally flawed and poorly executed."New York Representative Lee Zeldin is calling for the resignation of Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

a group of people sitting at a table: Several children await care at the ICRC centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova] © Provided by Al Jazeera Several children await care at the ICRC centre in Kabul [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova]

Since the mid-1990s, they have not only helped the war-wounded but expanded their work to cover anyone with a mobility issue. Ninety percent of the patients they treat suffer from disability due to congenital conditions, illnesses or accidents. In some cases, the treatment can last for years.

Every day, year in and year out, long lines of people seeking care pass through the doors of the centre. Then there are the teams who make home visits to reach those patients who cannot move or travel to the centre.

It is a crucial service in a country like Afghanistan, where many people do not have the logistical or economic resources to be able to travel far for medical care or to access a four-wheel-drive that can take them to a treatment centre from an area where standard cars or taxis often cannot reach.

Taking care of patients

One day, I accompanied several physiotherapists on their home visits to the areas surrounding the Kabul orthopaedic centre.

The team started out early in the morning, travelling with a driver in a four-wheel-drive, with a plan to visit several houses that day.

Even though the distances between the centre and its patients may not be that far, some live in areas that are difficult to reach; or in houses built on streets with great slopes that on rainy days would turn to mud, making things more complicated. Only a four-wheel-drive, inching forward at a snail’s pace, could make the journey.

Ed Rollins: Why 2022 midterms could be a catastrophe for Biden

  Ed Rollins: Why 2022 midterms could be a catastrophe for Biden The news cycle may have shifted away from Afghanistan, but not because the country is in a better place. To the contrary, the Afghanistan crisis is only getting worse. If anything, the shift in press coverage only exposes the pitfalls of media bias, with the liberal media doing everything in its power to change the subject and deflect blame from President Biden. Here is the truth: The Afghanistan situation is a national tragedy. It is an ongoing, unprecedented embarrassment. JIM GILMORE: BIDEN'S AFGHANISTAN DEBACLE INCREASES RISK OF ‘HOT WAR’ WITH RUSSIA, CHINA Mere weeks after the botched withdrawal of U.S.

In the car that day was Bashir, a physiotherapist working at the centre in Kabul. He is one of the former-patients-turned-staff-members who make up 90 percent of those working at the ICRC centres. He was injured in a landmine blast and now uses prosthetics to walk.

After circumventing several checkpoints that morning, our vehicle finally arrived in one of the poorest areas of Kabul. In a modest house, we met Ashma, who lived with her father and brother (her mother had passed away). Bashir tended to her with great attention and patience while her family observed from a distance. As the physiotherapist and his patient worked, Ashma’s gratitude was palpable.

a man in a dark room: Physiotherapist Bashir visits a patient at his workplace to check how his prosthesis fits [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova] © Provided by Al Jazeera Physiotherapist Bashir visits a patient at his workplace to check how his prosthesis fits [Ricardo Garcia Vilanova]

We made another stop that day, at a small clothes-making workshop, also located in one of the poorest parts of the city. Bashir followed up with a patient who worked there. Thanks to a prosthesis the centre had provided, he is now able to stand up.

The prosthetics the ICRC team uses are all produced on-site in artisanal workshops housed within the seven orthopaedic centres. The staff members – nearly all of them former patients with disabilities – hand-make the prostheses and adapt them to the needs of each patient.

More than 19,000 artificial legs, arms and other orthopaedic devices are manufactured every year, the ICRC says. Alberto has estimated that there are no fewer than 200,000 people in Afghanistan who are in need of prosthetic limbs.

More than 30 years ago, war created the need for an orthopaedic centre like this one. In the decades since, the conflict shifted, the players changed, and the conditions on the ground altered.

But those who have always needed help still do.

So the centre, and its satellite projects in other cities, stands. And Alberto and his committed team continue their daily work of ensuring Afghans who are most in need get the care they seek.

Mapping Afghanistan’s untapped natural resources .
Afghanistan is believed to hold more than $1 trillion worth of mineral resources but faces challenges in untapping it.According to Scott Montgomery, a geologist who has studied the extent of Afghanistan’s resources, the country requires a minimum of seven to 10 years to develop large-scale mining to become a major source of revenue.

usr: 0
This is interesting!