MARCH 2013 BACK ISSUE A farmer, injured when he discovered an unexploded bomb while ploughing, receives attention at the Emergency Hospital, Kabul. Ethnic Tajiks, injured in a knife-fight, await treatment. The Emergency hospital deals exclusively with war-wounded, normally only admitting those injured by guns or bombs. However, in recent months it has extended these criteria to include knife injuries as Emergency sees knife attacks as symptomatic of the instability caused by the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Mohamed Ali, was injured when shot by an Iranian border guard. Like many Afghanis from his region, he regularly crossed the border in search of work. He was initially detained by the Iranians before being released back into Afghanistan. By the time he received the appropriate medical treatment, the leg had become infected and the wound would not close. As a result of this three-week delay his leg must now be amputated. Mohamed Ali receiving the news that his leg must be amputated. His father, who will have responsibility of care, had to make the difficult decision for the amputation to proceed. He said that it was like giving his son a death sentence because without his leg he would not be able to work and it was unlikely that he would marry. A woman whose hands were injured when a mortar shell landed in her garden as she did the laundry. Her home has been on the frontline of fighting for several years, leaving her visibly traumatised. She had rarely gone out in that period. A patient in traction with leg injuries received when his lorry was hijacked. Many bullet wounds are caused indirectly by fighting between armed-gangs and bandits operating in de-stabilised regions. Farid, who was injured by a US grenade, enjoys the sun and fresh air outside his ward at the Emergency Hospital. He had been injured when caught in the cross-fire between Taliban and a US patrol. His father had taken him to the nearest American patrol base but they had refused to treat him on the grounds that he might be Taliban. His father had then driven him to Kabul where he received treatment to serious head and stomach injuries. Said Karim, a stonemason who lost his legs when his car drove over a landmine. While recovering from his horrific injuries, Said's main concern was how he would now support his family. Said and his brother were the bread-winners for an extended family of eight. Medical staff work de-bride Mohammed Hassan's open wound. His leg was amputated due to an infection that was caused by the delay in his treatment for a bullet wound. Afghanistan has an estimated 55,000 amputees, the majority of them war-related. Prosthetic limbs awaiting collection at the ICRC limb-fitting centre in Kabul. Since the programme started in 1988, the service has provided nearly 100,000 limbs. A patient, paralysed by a Russian rocket over twenty years ago, is cared for by his brother-in-law at the ICRC hospital, Kabul. If a patient is unable to look after themselves because of paralysis or hand injury they must have a relative with them at all times; this can cause added strain for all ready stretched families. Sediqullah, 10, awaits surgery on his injured hands. His hands had been badly damaged when playing with a bomb fuse he'd found. He lost several fingers.
Mohammed Karim, who suffered severe abdominal injuries when his car drove over a landmine. Three year old Mehdiai, is watched over by her aunt at Emergency hospital. She was playing with a piece of shiny metal on her doorstep when what turned out to be unexploded  ordinance went off in her hand. As well as losing fingers she also received severe stomach lacerations. Atawullah, 8, tries his new leg at the ICRC limb-fitting centre in Kabul. A year before, while walking to school, Atawullah stepped on a landmine, losing both an arm and a leg. In February 2011, whilst working in Afghanistan, British humanitarian photographer Giles Duley stepped on an IED – the explosion left him with horrific injuries and ultimately, a triple amputee. In October 2012 Duley returned to the country where he very nearly lost his life and undertook his first major photographic assignment since the explosion.  Afghanistan (2012), a series which documents the impact of the war on Afghan civilians. The images were created at EMERGENCY’S Hospital for Victims of War and at the ICRC limb-fitting center in Kabul and show the reality for civilians caught up in the horrors of a war zone and wars lasting legacy. Despite their terrible circumstance though, the resolve, strength and dignity of the Afghanis remains. This new body of work carries on where he left off.  As Duley explains, “What I’m doing hasn’t changed, but my voice has become louder; I had to go back and carry on telling these stories.” In a recent piece for The Observer, Duley states that he wants to be defined not by his injuries but by what he still is – a photographer.  Afghanistan (2012) showcases him as exactly that, a compassionate and talented visual storyteller. Back to current issue