The government is paying 300 afghanis (about US $7) disability pension monthly. Some distribution of land for shelter or monthly food items through aid agencies for disabled families also takes place.
But Zarina, an UXO victim, said often disabled ex-combatants are prioritised over civilians. "Just recently there was land distribution for the disabled, but we were told 'this is for ex-officers and soldiers, not civilian victims'," the 20-year- old victim who lost her left leg due to a mortar bomb explosion, told IRIN.
She added that literacy training was essential for every disabled person to make them more employable. "Meanwhile handicraft training and other vocational training will also be very helpful to help them become self-sufficient."
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is running the largest orthopaedic centres in major Afghan cities providing limb prostheses and physiotherapy. According to Alberto Cairo, head of ICRC orthopaedic projects in Afghanistan, the committee is running vocational training, a back-to-school programme, micro-credit schemes and a job centre to promote reintegration.
"Disabled people need a lot more than a plastic leg, or to learn to walk. They have to get back into society, find a role, and find dignity," Cairo told IRIN.
Cairo said, in Afghanistan, where life was hard for everyone, the disabled needed more help. "What kind of help? Schooling and work to give them a job. Or a loan to start up a small business - difficult, but possible." Meanwhile, under what he called "positive discrimination", most of his employees were disabled and hundreds of others found jobs through the ICRC disabled job centre.
But despite what the ICRC and others are doing, Mohammad Razi, a programme officer for the leading UN agency supporting disability programmes, said there was very little happening to help the disabled and mine victims reintegrate. "Funding problems, no interest from the donors, no attention by the Afghan government, security problems in the country and lack of technical personnel in the field of disability are the main reasons," Razi told IRIN.
Afghan society still has a long way to go in accepting mine victims, Haji Ahmad Shah Azimy, a member of the Afghanistan Disabled Association who lost both hands in a mine accident while working as a shepherd north of Kabul, said. "Neither in the public services nor in the private sector can you find a facility for the disabled," the father-of-six added.
Azimy said there were no special services for people with wheelchairs, for example. "A disabled guy cannot use public transport, nor is there a facility for us to cross the road." Disabled access to public buildings, including the relevant ministry, was non-existent and things were even worse outside the capital, he said.
The prevalent attitude among Afghans is that those maimed by mines are unworthy ex-fighters responsible for all the destruction in Kabul, rather than innocent victims who need public support and understanding. Victim support is part of the Ottawa convention, which the Afghan government signed up to in 2002.
"I wouldn't agree that we are not assisting them. The government is well aware of the scale of the problem and is trying to assist victims as much as possible," Mohammad Haidar Reza, Afghan deputy foreign minister and chairperson of demining activities in Afghanistan, told IRIN.
"But because of the limited resources that the government has, it cannot take care of all of their [the disabled] needs," he maintained.