Support: Medical Support For Terrorists

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October 13,2008:  In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Islamic terrorists try to provide medical care for their fighters. Not that everyone isn't willing to martyr themselves for the cause, but patching up the wounded is good for morale, and gets a member of the group back in the game.

Sometimes the wounded terrorists can seek treatment at a local hospital, which was one reason they didn't attack hospitals. But then the Americans began to check the IDs of those treated at hospitals. Anyone who did not have a plausible reason for their injuries (especially those caused by American weapons) was subject to scrutiny. So hospitals started becoming targets of terrorist attacks.

Terrorists would also seek medical care from doctors, outside of hospitals. This soon became impossible in Iraq because so many doctors were driven out of the country by kidnapping gangs, and criminal activity in general. Some doctors were attacked because they prayed the wrong way (Shia, Sunni, Christian, or whatever). Those doctors that stayed sought high security dwellings (some got into the Green Zone), and were generally unavailable to the terrorists. In Afghanistan, there were never many doctors to begin with, and most of the new ones that have showed up were foreigners, and difficult for the terrorists to reach.

While doctors and other medical professionals were unavailable, medical supplies were another matter. These often found their way onto the black market. Thus when weapons caches are found in Iraq and Afghanistan, there usually also supplies of food and medical supplies there as well (but these are usually not mentioned, ammo and weapons are much more newsworthy). The medical supplies usually come from local hospitals (where staff stealing the stuff, to make some big bucks on the black market, is a constant problem). In Afghanistan, NGO medical organizations often find themselves being extorted for medical supplies (give us the antibiotics and IV drips or we will blow up your clinic) instead of cash. Thus the seemingly odd cases of medical supplies from UN clinics in Pakistan, showing up in Afghanistan Taliban weapons caches.

The terrorists try to recruit people with some medical training, to use these supplies. But, in general, the Taliban and al Qaeda don't attract a lot of highly educated people, like medical doctors or nurses. So they improvise, sometimes with excellent results. Nothing like wartime pressures to speed the learning process. But too often, the improvisations don't work, which may account for the large amounts of heroin, morphine and opium often found among the medical supplies. Not so much for recreational purposes, but more often to soothe the pain for a wounded Jihadi who is terminal.

 


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