The bulk, 74 percent, are still caused by insurgents and other "anti-government forces" such as criminal groups.
Improvised bombs remain the largest cause. In some cases, they’re triggered by the weight of vehicles, which can be minibuses carrying locals just as easily as they can be Afghan army Humvees.
"And if a bomb hits a minibus, who’s inside? Often, it’s women and kids," said Georgette Gagnon, a representative of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Afghanistan.
For women, the ground fighting between insurgents and Afghan security forces was the most common cause of death or injury. For children, it was improvised bombs, then ground fighting and then accidental detonation of munitions left behind by fighting or the closing of a coalition base.
The U.N. mission called on the Afghan security forces to develop proper methods for tracking and reducing civilian casualties. It blamed government forces directly for 9 percent of the casualties.
For Afghans who are badly wounded, Emergency is widely regarded as the safest place to go. Even Afghan hospitals send deteriorating cases there that they’ve treated but cannot save.
Despite the fact that Emergency gets some of the worst cases, if a patient makes it there alive his or her chances improve instantly: Ninety-five percent of those who reach the Kabul hospital survive.
Emergency has three hospitals and about 40 clinics across the country, and a lean staff with a few foreign doctors and nurses and a few from Afghanistan.
In Kabul it has what was the first CAT scan machine in the country, and its facilities are among the best in Afghanistan, though it’s modest by Western standards.
The nonprofit is aggressive in maintaining its neutrality. It asks no questions about which side patients might have been fighting on or the circumstances of their wounds, other than what’s necessary to treat them.
The history of the organization’s Kabul hospital is a reminder of the seemingly endless chain of violence in the country for the past few decades.
It was a kindergarten, built by the Soviets before CIA-backed insurgents ran them out of the country.
During one of the various phases of civil war that followed, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar gave the building to Emergency at the group’s request to help underline its neutrality. That balanced the earlier gift of a hospital by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famed Northern Alliance commander and fierce Taliban opponent.
Now it’s a quiet, almost gardenlike oasis from the tumult of the city around it. But there’s a sign on the grounds near a small monument that dates to its days as a kindergarten.
"A rocket landed in this place in 1992 and killed five children," it says.
A few feet away, in the women’s and children’s ward, the beds around Zarsanga are filled with other children. A boy, 8, who’d been hit in the abdomen by shrapnel. A boy, 10, who’d lost much of a hand to a land mine. A boy, 7, with a shell injury to his back. A girl, 10, who’d been hit in the buttocks, left thigh and right leg by shrapnel from a shell or bomb. A 5-year-old boy hit in the right leg with a bullet.
His leg had been amputated just two days earlier, but he was grinning and laughing with another patient.
Watching, Radaelli just shrugged. Afghan children are tough, he said. After they’ve been in the ward for only a few days, it becomes their community.
In the hospital’s intensive care unit, two other wounded children lay. One, a 5-year-old boy, had taken a shell blast to the abdomen, shoulder and groin. Doctors had removed part of his intestines and were monitoring his condition carefully.
The other, a 10-year-old boy, had been struck by a bullet that entered his skull low, from behind, and passed out the upper left front. Initially, he was unable to breathe without a respirator, his eyes had rolled back and he twitched rhythmically. A few days later, almost miraculously, he was able to breathe again, though how much function he will have is unclear, Radaelli said.
For every name on the whiteboards at Emergency, for every person in a bed, there are plenty who don’t get the chance, Nannini said.
"It’s hard to say this, but those we actually get are the lucky ones," he said. "We have no idea how many patients don’t reach us."
McClatchy special correspondent Rezwan Natiq contributed to this story.