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Reference : V-F-CR-F-00669-C
Date : 04/2001
Country/Region : AFGHANISTAN
Title : Afghanistan : reaching war victims behind the front line
Duration : 00:02:28
Person appearing :
CAIRO, Alberto (orthopédiste)
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Production company : ICRC
Cameraman : SIDLER, Roland
Description : After two decades of war, Afghanistan remains divided, and tens of thousands of people have been forced by the conflict to flee their homes. In the mountains of Panjshir in north-eastern Afghanistan, about 5,000 people have taken shelter in Anaba camp, near the town of Gulbahar, an hour’s drive from the TalibanlMujahideen front line. Most have fled from
Taliban attacks in northern parts of Kabul. The Taliban control 90% of the country, but
fighting continues in the north-east against minority factions, including the Muj abideen.
Severe restrictions on movements between Taliban- and opposition-controlled areas make it difficult to reach people in dire need of help. The ICRC provides assistance to people living in Mujahideen-controlled areas, particularly mine victims, despite the difficulties involved in reaching them. Afghanistan is one the most heavily mined countries in the world, as Alberto Cairo, head of the main ICRC prosthetic/orthotic centre in Kabul, explains: “For sure, at least one million people have been wounded during these 20 years of war. Fortunately, only some of them have needed to be amputated. We estimate that around 50,000 Afghans have lost a leg or an arm ... there is work for the next 50 years.11 Components for artificial limbs are made at the Kabul prosthetic/orthotic centre and sent to four other ICRC centres. Artificial feet are being prepared for dispatch to Gulbahar, in the Panjshir valley behind the Taliban front line. The journey across the front line is difficult and dangerous, starting with a five-hour drive from Kabul to the village of Shockhi in the Panjshir mountains. Here, the limb-fitting components and supplies are loaded onto horseback for the five-kilometre climb over a mountain pass, through no-man’s-land and into opposition-controlled territory. The road is almost impassable in various places where container-loads of rocks have been piled onto it, ready to be exploded in the event of a Taliban advance. Once through no-man’s-land, the path descends towards the village of Kapisa and it’s a further hours drive to the town of Gulbahar. In the last few days, even this precarious path, the last remaining trade route into this isolated area, has been closed owing to renewed fighting. At the prosthetic/orthotic centre in Gulbahar, patients are fitted with new limbs. Forty-one-year-old Shah Agha was a Mujahideen fighter who lost his leg in a mine incident 15 years ago. The new foot completes his replacement prosthesis.
Original language : International soundtrack
English title : Afghanistan : IDPs, drought forces tens of thousand from their homes
Colour/B&W : colour
Original material/format : Betacam SP
Best material/format available : Betacam SP

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