Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Waiting in hospital rooms, Afghans wish for peace after Kabul blast

The first major explosion of the year wounded more than 100 people

January 15th, 2019 - Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan: Tooryalai Lal Mohammad, 25, lays in a hospital bed in the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital. Ivan Flores/The National
January 15th, 2019 - Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan: Tooryalai Lal Mohammad, 25, lays in a hospital bed in the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital. Ivan Flores/The National
Tooryalai Lal Mohammad was out getting bread for his family when a suicide truck bomb attack rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday night, killing at least four people and wounding more than 100.
The 25-year-old farmer who lives near the site of the attack witnessed as the blast shattered glass and damaged buildings in an area on the eastern outskirts of the city.
The blast targeted the main gate of Green Village, a heavily fortified compound that houses foreign workers and NGOs on the eastern outskirts of Kabul city. Until recently, some UN staff had lived and worked at Green Village, which is heavily protected by cement blast walls.
It was large enough to be heard miles away in central Kabul, initially causing confusion about the exact location of the attack.
Once the dust settled Mr Mohammad's family started the grim task of calling everyone in the area to make sure he was safe.
“We called him and we were worried. He did not answer his phone,” his brother Baryalai said.
Mr Mohammad was knocked out by the blast. Other residents found him lying on the floor unconscious and took him to the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital in Kabul.
The hospital, located several miles away from the site of the blast, took in most of the casualties from the attack.
The full extent of Mr Mohammad’s injuries was unclear as of Tuesday night. His doctor listed his wounds as Mr Mohammad’s chest rose and fell unevenly.
January 15th, 2019 - Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan: Tooryalai Lal Mohammad, 25, lays in a hospital bed in the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital. He was wounded when an explosion went off outside of Green Village. He has wounds on his arms, legs, chest and back. Doctors are still unable to fully diagnose his wounds has they do not have a portable x-ray machine and Tooryalai could not be transported to the machine. The attack on the Green Village, a compound in Kabul that houses foreign workers and NGO's, initially killed 9 and wounded over 120 Afghans who lived in the vicinity. There was also extensive property damage to the surrounding homes and shops. Ivan Flores/The National
Doctors are still unable to fully diagnose Tooryalai Lal Mohammad’s wounds as they do no have a portable x-ray machine and the wounded man cannot be moved to the machine. Ivan Flores, The National.
He has sustained injuries to his legs, arms, chest and head. He was temporarily in a coma and needed a respirator to help him breath. The hospital does not have a portable x-ray machine and doctors were not able to confirm suspected fractures.
Over the beeping of the monitors, Mr Mohammad whispered: “I am getting better.”
Mr Mohammad’s family waited in the hallway as he lay in the ICU. His uncle, Noorallen, explained that their home is right next to the Green Village.
“If there is real peace we will be happy. Peace would be great.” Noorallen said, adding that he hopes the Green Village would be moved to the desert so that attacks on the compound would no longer pose a risk to the local population living nearby.
January 15th, 2019 - Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan: Tooryalai's uncle, Noorallen, and brother, Baryalai, stand outside of the ICU in the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital in Kabul. Tooryalai was wounded in an explosion while out getting bread for dinner. The attack on the Green Village, a compound in Kabul that houses foreign workers and NGO's, initially killed 9 and wounded over 120 Afghans who lived in the vicinity. There was also extensive property damage to the surrounding homes and shops. Ivan Flores/The National
Tooryalai's uncle, Noorallen, and brother, Baryalai, stand outside of the ICU in the Wazir Akbar Khan public hospital in Kabul. Ivan Flores/The National
Monday’s explosion was the first major attack of 2019 and comes as diplomats ramp up efforts to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, which by some estimates was the world's deadliest conflict in 2018.
The Taliban on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the blast. The militant group vowed to carry out more attacks in the city in direct response to the recent appointment of former spymaster and anti-Taliban veteran Amrullah Saleh as Interior Minister.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told journalists on WhatsApp that the attack killed many foreigners.
The identities of those killed have not yet been confirmed. However, the Indian government confirmed that one of their nationals was amongst those killed.
Despite the large presence of foreigners in the targeted area, there is also a large population of locals living nearby. Afghan families were those most affected by Monday’s blast.
Green Village has been attacked numerous times in the past, and residents in the area claim that every family has had at least one member wounded as a result of repeated attempts to attack the compound.
“The ground shook, it was loud, glass flew across the house,” said Sardar Gul, who lives near the site of the explosion. Mr Gul, wrapped in a heavy warm shawl, his voice cracking, said he did not know what to do when he first heard the blast. He said his family was sitting for dinner when the explosion struck. His wife was wounded in the attack. He tried to soothe his seven children as they screamed and cried.
January 15th, 2019 - Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan: A shop damaged by the explosion that targetted a foreigner compound in the Qabil Bai district of Kabul. The attack on the Green Village, a compound in Kabul that houses foreign workers and NGO's, initially killed 9 and wounded over 120 Afghans who lived in the vicinity. There was also extensive property damage to the surrounding homes and shops. Ivan Flores/The National
A shop damaged by the explosion that targeted a foreigner compound in the Qabil Bai district of Kabul. Ivan Flores, The National
On Tuesday, workers could be seen cleaning the site of the attack. Some shops had reopened, despite having their windows blown out. Efforts to repair the area were underway.
Some of the residents of the neighbourhood were walking with bandages on their arms and legs.
Life, it seems, went on as usual.
Cars and Taxis drive past damaged shops and homes in the Qabil Bai district of Kabul. Ivan Flores, The National
Cars and Taxis drive past damaged shops and homes in the Qabil Bai district of Kabul. Ivan Flores, The National

Updated: January 16, 2019 11:01 AM

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