Place of ‘miracle’ for Afghanistan’s amputees

Alberto Cairo, director of the Kabul Orthopedic Center, helps an amputee adjust to a prosthetic.
Award-winning photojournalist James Nachtwey was one of five photographers commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to capture images of life in some of the world’s most troubled countries.

The project took him to the ICRC Orthopedic Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, a place he describes as “a kind of miracle,” and a refuge from the harsh reality of life in the country’s war-torn capital. More than 40,000 patients have been treated at the center since it opened in 1988, including 30,000 amputees. Watch video of the Orthopedic Center » The center operates under the direction of Alberto Cairo, a lawyer-turned-physiotherapist from Piedmont, Italy who has been working in Afghanistan since 1989. He is shown here in the photo, checking the alignment of an amputee’s prosthesis to make sure that he stands straight.

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Nachtwey’s photos of the Kabul Orthopedic Center are being displayed in the ICRC exhibition, “Our World — At War,” which opened in New York, Geneva and more than 40 countries in early May. It also features photos Nachtwey took in Central Mindanao in the Philippines and pictures by other leading photojournalists including Ron Haviv, Franco Pagetti, Christopher Morris and Antonin Kratochvil. See photos Ron Haviv took in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti. See Franco Pagetti’s photos from Lebanon.

The exhibition is part of the ICRC’s Our world. Your move. campaign to mark 150 years since the Battle of Solferino which led to the group’s creation. Have you been affected by conflict Send your photos and stories to iReport.