AFGHANISTAN20: Afghanistan Between 2001-2021 from the Perspective of Its Victims and Those Treating Them.

EMERGENCY, the international organisation that has provided free, high-quality healthcare to over 11 million people around the world, has released a new project entitled Afghanistan20, which reflects on the conflict in Afghanistan between 2001-2021 from the perspective of its victims and those treating them. Bringing together data from the organisation’s healthcare network across the country, testimonies from staff and patients, as well as contributions by journalists, researchers, and analysts, the project provides a vivid account of this chapter of the war in Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan20 sheds light on:  

  • An unrelenting conflict with thousands of civilians killed and injured.  
  • The devastating impact of airstrikes, landmines and IEDs.  
  • The dangers faced by Afghan women and children.  
  • A healthcare system on the verge of collapse.  
  • Over 135,000 surgical operations performed by our staff
  • 136 mass casualties managed by our Kabul Hospital from January 2013 to December 2020.  

And much more. 


“EMERGENCY has been in Afghanistan since 1999 and we know the consequences of this war. We have witnessed the conflict’s most awful periods, we have seen it change, we have watched carnage rip through a country and leave it with nothing. Through all that we have treated the victims and we still do. We hope that very soon they will no longer need us. The hasty and badly organised withdrawal of Western countries has ambushed us with the realisation that war is nothing more than a lack of rights, death, blood, despair, abandonment. Precisely for this reason, it seemed to us only right to go back and explain how today’s violence did not break out suddenly, but is the result of 20 painful and tiring years for the Afghan people.

Rossella Miccio, president of EMERGENCY

Having been at the centre of the world’s media coverage in recent months, the focus on Afghanistan risks fading once again, just as the country faces economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis. 

To produce Afghanistan20, EMERGENCY collected first-hand testimonies and analysed data relating to all war-wounded patients admitted to its three hospitals and 44 First Aid Posts over the last two decades. The aim is to tell the story from the perspective of people affected by this conflict and the medical staff treating them. The picture that emerges is one of periodically changing fronts and tactics, but with one constant theme: civilian victims. 

The primary author of the report is the journalist Giuliano Battiston who worked between June and early July 2021 in the three main EMERGENCY hospitals in Kabul, Anabah and Lashkar-Gah. 

Additional contributors include: Zuhal Ahad, BBC journalist; Elise Blanchard, AFP journalist and photographer; Amalia De Simone, freelance journalist; Fabrizio Foschini, analyst for Afghanistan Analysts Network; Emily Griffith, researcher for Action on Armed Violence; Ezzatullah Mehrdad, journalist; Nico Piro, RAI journalist; Andrew Quilty, freelance journalist and photographer; and Marta Serafini, Corriere della Sera journalist. 

Afghanistan20 is a project, in multimedia and paper form, by EMERGENCY in collaboration with ACCURAT, a data visualisation design and development studio.

Since 2018 EMERGENCY’s activities in Afghanistan have been co-funded by the European Union.

The report is available at

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