A teenager received assistance from USAID after losing his legs in a Taliban attack
6 FEBRUARY 2012 | KUNAR, AFGHANISTAN
Thirteen-year-old Tamim had his legs blown off when Taliban fighters attacked U.S. troops. One of the Taliban mortar rounds landed near the teenager, who had been working beside his father irrigating their farmland near a military base. Civilians who live near military bases are at particular risk from being killed, injured, or having their property damaged.
Tamim’s family received help from a USAID project that provides assistance to civilian victims who have been harmed because of fighting between the international military and insurgents. Crucially, the project is perhaps the only one of its kind to assist civilians who suffer losses no matter whether they are accidentally harmed by international military forces, or because they are caught in the crossfire when insurgents target international troops.
The incident happened in the Watapur District of Kunar Province. The province has one of the highest civilian casualty rates in Afghanistan. Tamim’s father Siddiqullah described what happened. “We had been irrigating our land using water from a canal which flows near the American base. We were tired and sat under a tree. Suddenly, there were explosions and a lot of shooting. We started to run away but a mortar exploded beside my son. When I stood up, I saw my son lying on the ground but I didn’t see his legs anymore.”
The USAID project gave the family kits containing household items and staple food items to help them cope after the accident. Siddiqullah said, “The items have a great importance in our lives.”
Although Siddiqullah and his family were extremely grateful for the assistance, the injury to Tamim continues to affect the family. “I have a large family to support and my son was my only hope to help me in supporting them. Everyone expected a lot from him. He was a symbol of prosperity and happiness for our family and now he is so helpless,” said Siddiqullah.
Last updated: January 12, 2015