External Affairs

‘Hands Cut by Pak-Sponsored Terror, Now Restored by Indian Doctors’

Afghan soldier Abdul Rahim demonstrates using a pen with his transplated hands [Credit: ANI videograb]

Afghan soldier Abdul Rahim demonstrates using a pen with his transplated hands [Credit: ANI videograb]

As the Afghan chief of intelligence, Amrullah Saleh had frequent run-ins with Pakistan and it’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, whom he accused of financing and supporting acts of terrorism within Afghanistan.

In 2010, Saleh was removed as head of the National Directorate of Security by Hamid Karzai, who was president at the time, a move widely seen as being taken under Pakistani pressure.

Since then, Saleh has continued to speak, write — and tweet — against what he sees as Pakistan’s continuing efforts to undermine Afghanistan.

On Sunday, in response to a heartwarming story about an Afghan soldier — who had had his hands blown off while defusing a land mine — getting a new pair of hands after a difficult and complicated transplant operation in a Kochi hospital, Saleh took to Twitter to make a direct and telling point:

His tweet drew a response from Vikram Sood, a former head of India’s spy agency, the Research & Analysis Wing, or RAW:

It also drew an interesting response from Gul Nawaz Bugti from Dera Bugti in Pakistan, who describes himself in his Twitter handle as “an activist of the Baloch Republican Party: Struggling with hope to regain the lost independence of my people (Balochs) & their land (Occupied Balochistan)”

Pakistan accuses the NDS of backing Balochi insurgents. It has also levelled the same charge against the RAW but has so far placed no evidence — either in the public domain or before key allies like the United States — to back up its allegation.

“Thank you, total Indian people,” the Afghan soldier, Abdul Rahim, told ANI. “Thanks to you, one Afghan guy got one new zindagi.”

PTI adds:

Abdul Rahim lost both his hands during demining operations in Kandahar three years ago. His will be perhaps the first case of twin-hand transplant on any citizen in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahim approached Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences four months ago, after scouting for hand transplant in several countries. The donor was a 54-year-old brain dead accident victim from Kerala.

The transplant was carried out in a marathon surgical procedure lasting for almost 15 hours with more than 20 surgeons and eight anaesthetics participating in it last month.

“Rahim has regained considerable amount of function of both his hands using them for day-to-day activities. He will need intensive physiotherapy for another 9 to 10 months, for which he will have to stay back in Kochi,” said Subramania Iyer, Professor and Head of the Plastic Surgery department.

“Each hand required connecting two bones, two arteries, four veins and about 14 tendons. The immune suppressant drugs were started before the start of the surgery and continued after it,” he said.

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A doctor at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi helps Abdul Rahim get used to his new hands ([Credit: ANI videograb]

Prem Nair, Medical Director of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre said, the family of the accident victim was counselled for the donation and they agreed after confirming that the hands will be replaced by prosthetic limbs to reduce deformity of the dead.

The hospital authorities claimed the second successful double hands transplant carried out at AIMS is yet another milestone in organ transplant in the country.

The first such transplant in the country was also done four months ago at the Kochi-based hospital and the recipient, 30-year-old Manu is progressing extremely well, doing all routine activities, they said.