22-year-old Sharifa is one of the thousands of Afghan mothers struggling to overcome the hurdles that are posed by a healthcare system weakened by decades of war, poor facilities, and social and cultural barriers that are difficult to break.
It’s about 8am and Kabul is awoken by the first explosion of the day.
Mohammed lives in Shash Darak, the district where two bombs exploded one after another.
“I heard an explosion. My house is in front of the Afghan Intelligence Agency headquarters where the attack took place. I was afraid, I thought about it a bit but decided to go down onto the street; I wanted to help. I saw many people stretched out on the floor, some were injured and others most probably were already dead. After a few minutes I heard a second explosion… I can’t remember anything else”.
Mohammed is about 60 years old and is one of those who survived the attack. He arrived at the Surgical Centre for War Victims in Kabul after having been hit by shrapnel from the second explosion. Mohammed suffered wounds to his arm and chest.
He is sat on the hospital bed with a long white beard and his legs crossed, speaking to an Afghan nurse who works with EMERGENCY and recounting what happened: “Right now, attacks on civilians are part of our daily life. We are all scared. To tell you the truth, from what I can remember we have always been afraid, but now it’s even worse. Survival is like winning the lottery. We are all terrified of what is happening outside but we cannot close ourselves inside our homes. We still need to work, children need to go to school…”. In just the first three months of 2018, 763 civilians were killed and 1095 were wounded in Afghanistan. 2017 was the fourth year in a row in which over 10,000 civilians lost their lives or were injured by fighting*. *UNAMA