Afghanistan: Fighting Rages in Helmand Province. Patients Are Arriving in Need of Major Surgery.

Relentless violence resulted in a surge of admissions at our Surgical Centre for War Victims in Lashkar-Gah.


What we are seeing now is a change in territory control dynamics. Since 1 May, the conflict has intensified in almost all the provinces: fierce fighting seen clearly in the number of patients we receive in our hospitals.
Marco Puntin, EMERGENCY’s Country Director

Clashes between government forces and The Taliban are taking place across Afghanistan. After taking over many government-held districts (more than half of 400 in the country), the Taliban are now advancing towards Lashkar-Gah – the capital of Helmand province. Fighting is now worsening inside the city centre.

We heard bombing from the hospital throughout the night and the morning, plus small arms fire, machine guns, snipers and artillery,” said Viktor Urosevic, EMERGENCY’s Medical Coordinator at the hospital.

On Sunday, Viktor explained the extent of the harm, the deterioration of security, and the pressure that the hospital is under to Al Jazeera.


“All our admissions are war-wounded. They arrive with “mine, shell or bullet injuries”. We had to narrow down criteria to only life-threatening war injuries in need of life-saving surgeries because our hospital reached capacity, even after adding four extra beds to cope, taking the total to 98.

© Vincenzo Metodo (Archive Photo)

Between 31 July and 2 August alone, EMERGENCY admitted 51 patients in need of urgent treatment and major surgery. A total of 41 with minor injuries were referred to other facilities. Unfortunately, 14 people were dead on the arrival.

Times are challenging and we cannot predict what will happen in the coming hours and days. The city is blocked, communications and transportations are cut-off. In the midst of the offensives, EMERGENCY staff are striving to provide medical and surgical support with neutrality and no discrimination. That has and always will be the EMERGENCY way.

“Everybody is a patient” as Viktor said on 3 August on BBC Radio 4 [segment starts at 10 minutes and 15 seconds].

“Everybody is now working around the clock. We have local staff members who worked 36-hour shifts because they found a safe place in our hospital, while their families are internally displaced.”

EMERGENCY continues treat war victims at the Surgical Centres for War Victims in Lashkar-Gah and in Kabul. It has 44 First Aid Posts around the country, and also provides medical, surgical, maternal, ante-natal and post-natal care in its hospitals in the Panjshir Valley.

Latest Figures:

In Kabul – from 1 January to 30 June – EMERGENCY admitted 1,333 war-related patients.
In Lashkar-Gah – from 1 January to 30 June  – EMERGENCY admitted 1,594 war-related patients.

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