Feature
Shot in crossfire between Taliban and Afghan security forces, Kahar couldn’t even stand up straight, and every day was a trial of pain.

Abdul Razzak will never forget that fateful day when he received the phone call that would turn his life upside down. 

The date was December 30, 2014, and it had just been a few days since the United States and NATO had formally ended their 13-year-long war in Afghanistan.

"I had many guests at home. Around 18-20 people had gathered at my house for a meal. In Kabul, Kahar had gone to school, when the firing broke out," says Razzak.

Razzak, who is from a village in Afghanistan's Paktia province, had sent his son Abdul Kahar and Kahar’s brother to school in Kabul. What 16-year-old Kahar got for the thirst for education, however, was a bullet from an encounter between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

"A bullet hit him in the abdomen and went straight through. There was a lot of blood loss, and someone rushed him to the hospital," says Razzak.

Although it passed through, the bullet left behind massive damage, having torn into his colon and bladder and shattered his hip bone. It hurt Kahar’s hip so badly that even standing up became an arduous task, says Razzak.

"His left leg completely stopped working, while his right one worked just a little," he says.

While Kahar received basic treatment at the Emergency Hospital at Sherpoor Road in Kabul, it would take a hip surgery to fix all the problems, something Razzak could not afford. And left untreated, Kahar’s condition began to get worse.

For two years, every day of  Kahar’s life was a trial of pain.

"He used to be in a lot of pain, and it would hurt me to see him like that. But we are a poor family, so I couldn’t afford to do any operation in Kabul," says Razzak.

"I finally decided that I have to do something. My heart used to bleed when I saw my son like that. Kahar was declared a 'war victim', so travelling for treatment was possible," he adds.

The borders opened for Kahar, Razzak brought his ailing son to Hyderabad, where friends and acquaintances had told him he could get his son treated for free. "I applied for a visa because I was told that Hyderabad's Osmania General Hospital does treatment for free," he explains.

With help from a member of Afghanistan's National Assembly and the Red Cross, Kahar and Razzak finally reached Hyderabad, and Osmania General Hospital, on January 3.

But Kahar’s troubles hadn’t ended yet.

"Though the doctors admitted us, they were not paying attention to us initially. They told me that they could not treat me for free under 'Chief Minister Relief Fund' or Aarogyashree, because I was from Afghanistan," says Kahar.

Razzak took up this next challenge, making appeals wherever he could, until almost a month later, he got in touch with Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) leader Amjed Ullah Khan, who promised to help him.

Khan made a video appeal to Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar  Rao, asking him to release funds for Kahar, as a humanitarian move that bridged the distance between two countries. More letters were shot off to KCR, the Health Minister K Laxma Reddy, and the Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali.

While private hospitals charge around Rs 2 lakh for the necessary operation, OGH agreed that if the cost of medicines and equipment could be arranged, roughly Rs 70,000, it would waive all other charges.

To Razzak's delightful surprise, however, the Chief Minister’s office sanctioned Rs 1,35,000 on  February 3, covering all the medical expenses, including the surgery.

The funds arranged Kahar went into the operation theatre on February 8, and underwent a completely successful surgery.

According to reports, a team of doctors led by orthopedic surgeon Dr MV Reddy constructed a bone model of his left hip and then performed a hip replacement surgery. 

Razzak is ecstatic, as he watches his son finally on the road to recovery and full health.

"I can't thank anyone enough. People have been extremely kind to me, from the sweepers at the hospital, to the doctors, to (Amjed) Khan saab to the Telangana government, which has made this possible. I never thought I would see this day," he says.

"Kahar has to be on the bed for the next six weeks, following which he will be able to travel again, and we can go back home and start afresh," he adds.

18-year-old Kahar has been given a new lease of life, says Razzak, adding, "I will never forget this gesture, and I will take it to my grave."