From Chicago to Kabul– Part 2

We would like to thank Kathy Kelly, Chicago based humanitarian worker and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, for joining EMERGENCY USA as a guest blog author. After traveling to the EMERGENCY Surgical Center in Kabul, Kelly reflected on her experience in a piece entitled “In EMERGENCY,” which was published on Telesur English on August 13th.

This is the second of a five part series (read part 1 here) in which Kelly reports on the life-saving care provided at the Kabul Surgical Center. By sharing her personal view of EMERGENCY’s impact in Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly joins Khaled Hosseini and many other EMERGENCY USA supporters who believe that high quality healthcare is a basic human right. 

Check back next Wednesday for part 3.  

Emanuele says that there are many front lines in the fighting.  It’s not a “guerilla war.” It’s a full-blown war, with multiple sides heavily armed and battling.  It’s not what most people, including journalists, see here in the capital.

“Kabul is like another country,” Emanuele says, explaining that although the Afghan government controls Kabul and the main roads leading into Kabul, it has lost control over many areas in the east and south which are now split among warlords.  The current divisions of control resemble conditions prevailing in 2000, before the U.S. invaded.  He noted that in rural areas, it is the warlords who collect taxes, and less than 20% of the country’s population is urban.


In Helmand, in 16 days, 400 people were killed. “It’s like Gaza, but no one speaks about it,” said Emanuele.  There is less that can credibly be called “fighting” in Israel’s massacre of Gazan civilians, but civilian casualties don’t suddenly become acceptable even in the heart of a war, at least not to the medical staff  charged with caring for and attempting to save the survivors. “4,000 Taliban are fighting in Helmand, and this is just one of 34 provinces.”

Somewhat hopefully, Giacomo and Emanuele wonder if the current peak in fighting might represent a last-ditch effort before negotiations. Are various parties intending to enter negotiations but attempting first to establish facts on the ground that will give them a better bargaining position? Emanuele doesn’t believe the Taliban want to fight for another ten years.  Nor does he believe they can sustain it.

To learn more about EMERGENCY’s programs in Afghanistan, click here. If you would like to join Kathy Kelly in supporting Afghan civilian victims of war, please click here to donate today

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