Nightly News   |  November 20, 2013

Taliban makes a comeback in Afghanistan

Civilian war casualties in Afghanistan rose 45 percent over the last year, with hospitals treating children who have been shot, or hit by shrapnel. NBC’s Richard Engel reports

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>>> now to the war in afghanistan . our reporting here earlier this week that after 12 years there is a plan outlining what happens after u.s. combat troops come home next year. tonight, secretary of state john kerry confirms there is a final draft of the deal. meanwhile there are growing concerns about an up surge of violence and chaos as the u.s. operation winds down. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel saw the effects close up at a busy hospital in kabul .

>> reporter: the main trauma hospital in kabul may be the best place to diagnose afghanistan's health as u.s. troops draw down. the symptoms don't look good. civilian casualties of war, up 45% across the country over last year. in some areas, hospital officials say, 80%. children like jihan, hit by shrapnel, 17-year-old shakila, shot in the face and nafisa on her way home from a wedding when a bomb exploded in the family car . her nails still painted for the party.

>> this man came with a gunshot wound.

>> reporter: the chief surgeon worked for 11 years at this hospital run by the italian charity emergency.

>> day by day , every day increasing, the number of war casualties are increasing.

>> reporter: they are setting up four new clinics to cope with rising demand. as american troops are leaving the taliban is making a comeback. manuelli nardini is the hospital administrator.

>> it's difficult to be opt his tick when speaking of afghanistan.

>> reporter: 12-year-old obade lost both legs when a mortar hit his house. taliban fighters were nearby at the time.

>> translator: i looked down and my legs weren't there.

>> reporter: he lost his sister and brother, too. at the hospital he make as fast recovery, but before he can go home the stitches and bandages have to be removed. it hurts. a lot. he's so upset a child near him starts crying, too. then, thankfully, it's over. obade is cleared to leave and will soon be fitted for prosthetics. nafisa is being discharged, too. but then what? at home, obade tells me he wants to be a doctor. but the family can't afford the therapy he needs. as america draws down, the war among afghans seems to be getting worse. richard engel , nbc news, kabul .

>>> sadly, this was another bloody day in the other nation where the u.s. has recently departed in iraq where there's been a surge lately of violence and instability. scores of people were killed in a wave of bombings both in and around baghdad, part of a growing insurgency against the shiite-led government. the worst of it happened in a cafe where a bomb killed six and wounded 16.