Sediqullah, 10, awaits surgery on his injured hands. He lost fingers when playing with a bomb fuse he’d found.

From Giles’ article on the Observer: “One day I talk to a young boy, Sediqullah, and his father, a sturdy man from the Panjshir valley. Sediqullah’s hands are bandaged and his face pitted by shrapnel as a result of an explosion. They explain how he, as has happened to many curious boys, found an unexploded fuse that exploded in his hands. His father also shows me the wounds he received during the Russian occupation. A missile landed near him, shrapnel embedding itself in his neck and body.
Over the following days I grow closer to Sediqullah and his father, and when it comes to his next operation Sediqullah asks if I will be in the operating theatre. The men from the Panjshir valley in northern Afghanistan are famous for their strength and tenacity, and pride themselves as being the only valley in Afghanistan that has never been conquered by the British, the Russians or the Taliban. As they wheel Sediqullah into the theatre you can see that same pride and dignity in his face. He looks at me and smiles. As he is put on the operating table, they lay his injured arms out, and although I can tell he is scared and in pain, he stares at the ceiling with a sense of defiance. I raise my camera and take a few frames before giving him a thumbs-up and a smile while the anaesthetic takes effect. I watch most of the operation and then leave to talk to his father. He wants to know how bad the hand injuries are. I am possibly one of the few people in the world who is in a position to say, “It’s OK. He’s just lost the ends of a few fingers. It’s nothing.””


In over 40 years, war in Afghanistan has caused one and a half million dead, hundreds of thousands of wounded and disabled, in addition to more than four million displaced people. The main victims of the war in Afghanistan are civilians. In fact, between 1 January and 30 June 2012, conflict-related violence resulted in 3,099 civilian casualties, 30% of which were women or children (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 2012).

Only last year 88,390 children were treated in EMERGENCY hospitals in Afghanistan.

In addition to its three hospital in Afghanistan EMERGENCY has created a network of 27 First Aid Posts (FAPs) and Primary Health Clinics (PHCs) in Afghanistan, in order to provide prompt treatment also to the population of the most remote areas or to zones lacking healthcare facilities. The local staff trained by EMERGENCY provides basic healthcare, first aid and the referral of patients in serious conditions to EMERGENCY’s hospitals by an ambulance service open 24/7.

Data on First Aid Posts and Public Health Centres:

Outpatients consultation: 2,490,471
Referred to Surgical centres: 36,643

Since December 1999 EMERGENCY has treated over 3.5 million people in Afghanistan.
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