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Soldiers of God

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Vintage Books

Soldiers Of God - Plot & Excerpts

A West German doctor, Frank Pau-lin, traveled around Nangarhar province in April 1985, cutting off the limbs of mine victims with a survival knife. “Sometimes I'd use a saw, basically anything I could get my hands on,” he recollected. The only anesthetic that Paulin had available for his patients was ordinary barbiturates. Some of the patients died, but the ones who survived wouldn't have had a chance without him. Radio Moscow accused Paulin by name of being a “CIA spy.” While being hunted by Soviet troops, he contracted cholera and had to be carried on the back of a mule over a fourteen-thousand-foot mountain pass to safety in Pakistan. Paulin had only one fear: that he too would step on a mine.
An Afghan who stepped on a mine frequently died of shock and loss of blood a few feet from the explosion. More often, he was carried by a relative or friend to a primitive medical outpost run by someone like Paulin. If the victim was really lucky, he made it to a Red Cross hospital in Quetta or Peshawar over the border in Pakistan — antiseptic sanctuaries of Western medicine where emergency surgery was conducted around the clock.

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