In a poignant revelation from Sehat-e-Rawani Hospital in Kabul, Mohammad Hussain, an Afghan national who served as an interpreter for U.S. forces, bared the heavy toll war has taken on his mental health. Adorned in a hospital gown, Hussain, grappling with war-related mental illnesses, lamented that his involvement in the conflict has led to persistent sorrow and depression.
Having joined U.S. forces as an interpreter in 2010 and subsequently leaving in 2012 due to health reasons, Hussain shared his ordeal from his hospital bed. Afflicted with sickness, he emphasized that the trauma from his wartime experiences has rendered him unable to continue his duties.
"I told them (U.S. troops) I could not work anymore. They said, 'No, you don't have any problem. You just get depression,'" Hussain recounted.
Despite receiving a six-month medical treatment from the U.S. troops, Hussain's mental health deteriorated upon recollection of the distressing memories from his missions. Witnessing the death of Afghan civilians during battles, including a U.S. jet fighter dropping a bomb that claimed the life of a barber's son, left an indelible mark on his psyche.
"I remember all my past. I cannot forget," he expressed.
Dr. Mohammad Shafi Azim, chief of the psychiatric department at Sehat-e-Rawani Hospital, shed light on the broader impact of the prolonged war on the Afghan population, resulting in a surge of mental health issues.
"A prolonged war, security problems, the unpleasant sound of ammunition, rocket attacks, and a small or big fight can cause mental problems for a child or a teenager or an adult who lives in a community located in a war zone," Dr. Azim explained.
Reflecting on the enduring consequences of war, neurologist Khawaja Qudratullah Sediqi, also working at the hospital, highlighted the persisting challenges faced by victims, ranging from economic difficulties to unemployment.
"Even though the war has ended, the consequences, such as economic difficulties, unemployment, and many other problems, remain in the society and continue to haunt the victims," emphasized Dr. Sediqi.