Giving the wounded new hope in Afghanistan

16-year-old Naragha lost both his hands last month when someone threw a grenade at a wedding he was attending.
CBS News

KABUL - Sixteen-year-old Naragha is a frightened Afghan schoolboy who joined an unfortunate fraternity last month. "I was at a wedding party and somebody threw a hand grenade in the window," he remembers. "It exploded next to me, and I lost both my hands."

CBS News correspondent Mandy Clark reports there are 900,000 disabled Afghans. Most of them are victims of landmines, roadside bombs and grenade assaults.

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But in a corner of Kabul, there is a refuge for many.

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Najmuddin Helal is director of the Red Cross Orthopedic Center, which has been treating the war-wounded since 1988.

"The amputees, 80 percent are always landmine victims," Helal said.

All of the crutches, wheelchairs,leg braces, and orthopedic shoes are made on site. This includes 15,000 prosthetic limbs every year.

"So far, we registered more than 100,000 disabled," Helal said. "They need always something, for the rest of their lives. You never stop, never stop."

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Young, old, male, female - the war does not discriminate. But the center does. They only hire the disabled. Just about every office worker, craftsperson and physical therapist was once a patient here.

"It is a good chance for them to get a job," Helal said. "And they can train the disabled how to use the artificial limb."

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Helal himself is an amputee. In 1983, a landmine ripped away both his legs. He was just two years older than Nuragha.

"When the disabled like me comes on the stretcher and has lost all his hope, and I take up my trousers and he can see that someone like him, he can walk again," Helal said. "This is a big hope to the other people."