They Inspected an Odd Object. Now 4 Are Dead, 7 Lost Limbs

The 'New York Times' looks at a particularly awful day in Afghanistan
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2018 12:25 PM CDT
Security personnel inspect at the site of a deadly explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 22, 2018.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – On one awful April day in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 10 children and one adult—all members of the same extended family—looked at an item on the ground near their home that they didn't recognize. It turned out to be an unexploded rocket, and as soon as a 16-year-old realized what it was and tried to get it out of the hands of two younger relatives who had picked it up, it fell to the ground and exploded. The teen and three others at the scene died; all seven of the survivors lost at least one leg. Two of them lost both legs, reports the New York Times in a look at the "cruel" day and its aftermath—one made particularly daunting by the fact that after an attack last January on a Save the Children office, many aid groups have reduced operations in Jalalabad.

The survivors have had multiple operations, with three of them requiring long-term hospitalization; often, the children must share four beds in one hospital room during treatment. "Every one of them needs one-on-one help. And these are such poor people," says another doctor, who notes that it would be better for the children to be transferred to a better-equipped center, likely in another country. For those who are able to go home when not being treated, they must deal with wheelchair-unfriendly unpaved paths; some of them may be able to get prosthetics, but not until several months of healing at least. Hospital officials and family members say no offers of outside help have been extended. As for the rocket, the district police chief says it was fired by the Taliban in its fight against the Afghan National Army; the Taliban denies it. Click for the full piece by Rod Nordland.

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