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Where Taliban and ex-soldiers face their wounds

There is a place in Afghanistan where former enemies stand side by side, confronting their wounds. Taliban fighters and soldiers in what was once the Afghan national army, now being fitted with prosthetic limbs and other treatments.This is the International Red Cross hospital in Kabul. It’s where you’ll find Mohammad Ishaq, standing with those he defeated.”My name is Mohammad Ishaq from Helmand province, Marjah district. For years we fought against the infidels and we defeated them and I was injured. I’ve fought for about eight years against the infidels, and finally we have defeated them.”I came here to the Red Cross hospital. They make hands and legs for people who need hands and legs. They help all people in need. Whatever the people need, they provide.”Nearby is Mohammad Tawfiq, who was once a soldier before he was paralyzed from the waist down, the only survivor of an ambush. There’s no victory for men like him to help with the healing, but he wants to put the war behind him.”It isn’t just me, all the people of Afghanistan are tired of war. What we want, whatever government or authority is in power, we’ll accept it as long as we’re not harassed and bothered, in a free environment, where people are allowed to live according to their own will.””Well before when (there was) the previous regime, there were Taliban coming here, but very few and secretly. Now they come very openly, so we have many, every day 10-15, they come for different reasons. They are disabled themselves, so we help them like we help everybody.”That’s Alberto Cairo, the Italian head of the orthopaedic program here. He’s been involved with Afghanistan for three decades.”The Taliban themselves, they asked the ICRC to keep working in the same way, men and women working in the same way, so now we have all the staff present like before.”There are women who work here too. Unlike many in Afghanistan, who were forced from their jobs by the Taliban, the Red Cross women can still work.With Afghanistan in such a deep economic crisis and its healthcare system in disarray, the Red Cross is one of the few entities that can provide services like this for Ishaq, for Tawfiq, and the many, many like them.