#WATWB: Dodging Bullets to Deliver a Baby

Posted: 2018/08/31 in Blogging
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Sometime in 2015, the Taliban attempted to recapture an Afghan city called Kunduz. War began between the Taliban and the government military. All roads were closed and hospitals became battlefields. People were trapped in hospitals for weeks. Hospitals were running out of medicine, blood, and even food. One hospital was blown up by a mortar.

A gynaecologist named Dr. Marzia Salam Yaftali was working at the last-standing public hospital in the city. She couldn’t go to work during the attack and it worried her sick. The situation was getting worse. The injured kept arriving at the hospital despite the diminishing supplies.

I was desperate to go to work but I couldn’t because all the roads were closed and the hospital was a battlefield. It was in the crossfire between the Taliban and the government troops. My colleagues were trapped in the hospital for two weeks. No one could leave.

One night when the fighting had worsened uncontrollably, Dr. Marzia was called to help her neighbour deliver twins.

There was heavy fighting one night. The battle was going on from street to street and house to house. It was so bad that no one dared to leave their homes. If you were shot at no one would know if it was from the Taliban or government troops. My family was hiding in the basement.

Around 8 o’clock in the evening, there was banging on our door. We were terrified. But it was a neighbour. They had a lady staying with them called Fatma. She was young and pregnant with twins. But it hadn’t been an easy pregnancy. My neighbour said, ‘Please come. Fatma is going into labour. We need your help.’

Dr. Marzia was living with her sister, also a doctor. But her sister refused point-blank to go outside. The risk was too great. She had her own children to look after and going outside meant certain death.

Dr. Marzia had to decide what to do. She had met Fatma and seen the scan of her babies.

I knew that if I didn’t go, Fatma would die.

When I stepped outside the front door, there was a rain of bullets. It was absolutely terrifying.

I was running. I will never forget that night. There were NATO airplanes above. It was pitch-black but I could see the laser lights coming from the jets looking for the Taliban fighters. I ran like I had never run before. The neighbour’s house was ten minutes away but it felt like a whole hour.

Dr. Marzia managed to deliver the first baby. Unfortunately, the second baby was trapped at the shoulder and needed caesarean section to be delivered. She needed a hospital.

I called my government contacts and asked them to send a military tank to take us to the hospital. Then I rang the hospital and my colleagues there said absolutely not. You cannot come here. The hospital is a war zone. Earlier a patient and his father left the hospital and were shot. Their bodies are still outside in the driveway and no one dares to pick them up. The same could happen to you. Don’t come.

The rest of Dr. Marzia’s story can be found here.

Dr. Marzia

Dr. Marzia Salam Yaftali. Photo by BBC.


This is the 16th celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Shilpa GargBelinda WitzenhausenSylvia McGrath, Simon Falk, and Andrea Michaels.


To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List
  1. Julia Lund says:


    • Peter Nena says:

      It can indeed make a person speechless. Running in pitch darkness under a hail of bullets to save another person. Thanks you for your comment.

  2. simonfalk28 says:

    The valiance and commitment of Dr Marzia is simply inspiring, Peter. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Damyanti says:

    Peter, I read this post once, and then once again. No words. We all need to spread like this one.

    • Peter Nena says:

      It brought tears to my eyes. It still does. Thank you Damyanti. Thank you for starting #WATWB. I have come across stories that have made me question a lot of things. Thank you.

  4. dweezer19 says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this. 😊

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Peter – I so admire those doctors choosing to work in the most appalling situations that War sends … gosh this world is so sad … and yet there’s always hope from brave souls … thanks for posting this – Hilary

  6. Tish Farrell says:

    Thank you for this, Peter. What a courageous woman.

  7. Eliza says:

    I couldn’t figure out how to finish reading 😦
    Thank you for sharing…. even what I did read was/is really inspiring.

  8. Keep posting these amazing stories Peter. The courage and compassion of these people is so inspiring. It gives me hope. So sorry I’m late in reading this, but I’m here!!

    • Peter Nena says:

      Hi Cybele. It is always good to hear from you. I’m glad you find inspiration in Dr. Marzia’s story. She has enough love in her heart to inspire us all. Thanks.
      PS: You are not late, my dear. I’m just happy to know you are fine.

  9. Really unspeakable for both the amazing dr and the woman in labor. Trust me: birthing one (to music, with the tender support of a husband and trained staff in safety) is hard enough. Trying to push out two trying not to get shot is whole other.

    • Peter Nena says:

      When I was 5 going on 6, our neighbour gave birth at home. It was her first child and my mother was one of the women helping her. I followed my mother and she sent me away but I didn’t go far. I still remember vividly that woman’s wails as she was caught in the travails childbirth. Agonized, hair-raising. I had never heard an adult cry. Let alone cry like that. I was disturbed.
      Creating life is so hard. Raising a child is so hard. But those who take lives, make bombs and guns, start wars . . . it is easy for them to do those things, to give orders and decree fates. They don’t know how it is to create a life and feel it grow everyday inside you. They only destroy

  10. Putting your own life in danger to save another? If that is not the stuff of legends then i dont care for superhero like crap anymore. Hats off to this lady and for her guts. Thank you so much Peter for inspiring us all by sharing this story.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Hi Pradita. Thank you too for your heartwarming comment. I’m glad Dr. Marzia inspires you. She is a real life superhero. Outside the movies superheroes go unsung. Though they do indeed exist and we need them more than ever.

      • That’s right, they exist and they ought to be the ones who is pure us to greatness. That is why, thank you to you again for letting everyone know about Dr. Marzia and her incredible feats. I hope she keeps inspiring 😊

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