From Prayer to Paralysis

by Joshua Brollier 

Zainullah at a Paraplegic Center near Peshawar (Photo: G. Simon Harak)

May 17, 2010, Islamabad — Through the Soviet invasion and occupation, the Afghan civil war and now the United States war and occupation, a young man named Zainullah, around 25 years of age, has seen war his whole life. But you’d never know it by his engaging smile and his relaxed countenance. Zainullah currently lives at a paraplegic center in Hayatabad, Pakistan, a suburb of Peshawar, the capital city of the North-West Frontier Province. He is originally from the Helmand province of Afghanistan, which has been one of the most intense battlegrounds during the “war on terror” launched by the United States in 2001. 

Zainullah was paralyzed about nine months ago after being struck with shrapnel from a U.S. cruise missile. On the day of the attack, Zainullah was getting ready to start his prayers. He heard a bomb blast, and before he had a chance to realize that he was the target, Zainullah was laying prostrate on the ground with a piece of metal lodged in his spinal cord. Two men from his village carried him to the nearest clinic. There he was given an injection and then taken to the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC) facility in Helmand. Now paralyzed from the waist down, Zainullah spent one month at the ICRC , and then decided to seek more extensive rehabilitation treatment in Pakistan. 

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