Afghanistan: Helping Victims of Weapons and IEDs

Since 1996, Handicap International has managed the only rehabilitation center in Kandahar, Afghanistan, providing comprehensive services to disabled people. In 2015, the center hosted more than 7,000 patients[1]. On average, 20% of new arrivals have a lower limb amputated as a result of landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other weapons. 

“Weapons are the leading cause of disabilities among our patients,” says Rasool, who manages Handicap International activities in the Kandahar region. According to the Landmine Monitor[2], 95% of victims of explosive weapons in Afghanistan are civilians, and almost half are children. “We provide victims with the necessary care so that they become independent as soon as possible.”

Most patients are from Kandahar, but about 20% travel to the center from remote areas and even Pakistan and need overnight accommodations. The center has a 33-beds capacity guesthouse.

Inside the main room, patients with lower-limb amputations practice using their new prosthetic legs. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, they try matching their footsteps to the footprints painted on the floor, which represent a normal walking gait. “When exercising in groups, the patients support each other,” says Rasool. “They are in a better mood and it raises the efficiency of their physical therapy sessions.”

Read about Sayed, 6, who lost his leg in an IED attack, and how handicap International is helping him at our rehabilitation center in Kandahar.