GINO STRADA: WAR M.D.
In late OCTOBER three Katyusha rockets, launched by the Taliban in retaliation for U.S. air strikes, hit the market of the small city of Charikar in territory controlled by the opposition Northern Alliance. Two people die in the attack, and another 25 are injured. The injured, all civilians, among them many women and children, are rushed along a bumpy road to Anabah, in the deep gorge of the Panjshir Valley. There, 60 kilometers from Kabul, is the only hospital in all of northern Afghanistan equipped with the accoutrements of modern medicine: an emergency room, a radiology suite, two fully outfitted operating theaters with a supply of oxygen, a clinical laboratory, sterilizers, a blood bank, an intensive care unit, and four surgical wards and beds for 70 patients.
In a country with scant electricity, phone service and running water, the hospital's neat, one-story white building appears almost as a mirage against the impressive backdrop of the Hindu Kush mountain range. On the side of the hospital are painted the three red stripes that represent the logo of the international aid organization Emergency, a nongovernmental agency headquartered in Milan, Italy.
This article was originally published with the title Extreme Medicine.