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Critically ill Afghans suffer as Taliban tighten Pakistan border

Shortage of specialised doctors in Afghanistan means patients seek lifesaving care in Pakistan, but conventions have changed

Fareed Ullah has crossed Afghanistan’s border to Pakistan 10 times for treatment for his three-year-old son, Taha, who has thalassaemia major, an inherited blood disorder. Up until the Taliban takeover in August he had never experienced a problem, but when he tried to transit via the Torkham crossing late last month, he was stopped by the Taliban from entering.

Doctors and family members of patients say conventions at the border have changed since the Taliban takeover, which has made it more difficult for Afghan patients to seek lifesaving care in Pakistan. “There is no system, still,” said Ijaz Ali Khan, the founder and chairman of Hamza Foundation, a charity organisation in Peshawar that provides treatment for thalassaemia and other blood disorders.

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