Nine-year-old Mirwies drags his left leg and arm as he scoots along a hallway in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was a waterboy for guerrillas in his native Afghanistan when he was wounded during a raid southeast of Kabul. "The Russians shot me in two spots, on the right chest and over the eye," said the blue-eyed youngster, showing his scars as he spoke through a translator. Bullet fragments remain in his brain.
Mirwies, his uncle Mohammad Hussain and five other Afghans who are among the hundreds of people seriously wounded during the five years of armed resistance to the Soviet occupation troops, were part of a special airlift to the United States to receive advanced medical care.
The seven are receiving free care at Walter Reed, which normally is limited to members of the Army and their dependents, by a waiver approved by a nonpartisan mix of congressmen, from Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) to Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.)
"This is a sign of the overwhelming support in Congress for the resistance movement in Afghanistan," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
The mission began when the Department of Defense, responding to the congressional request, asked a private foundation in New Canaan, Conn., for help in arranging care for wounded Afghans whose problems were more serious than the hospitals in neighboring Pakistan could handle.
The foundation, Americares, sent three doctors to hospitals and Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan this July to choose the neediest cases. By Aug. 8, the seven patients arrived in Washington from Peshawar, Pakistan. They are only now well enough to talk, and have several more weeks of operations and therapy to undergo.
"We want health," said Mohammad Issa, 25, who is one of three who has lost an eye in the fighting. A commander of 90 men, he said he helped shoot Russian planes with cannons constructed from spare parts and weapons stolen from the Soviets. "We want to devote our life back to the cause."
The men are mujaheddin -- freedom fighters -- in a holy war against the Soviet occupiers. They are eager to return, and criticize the United States for not providing weapons and other support for their fight.
"It is the general responsibility of the people who believe in freedom to think of the people who are dying for freedom," said Ghulam Rabani Kazi, 41, who lost his right eye four months ago and has undergone brain surgery. "We don't ask for food, not for medicine, but for bullets."
Adds Toordalie, 60, whose 18-year-old son died in front of him during the June bombing attack that also destroyed part of his father's face, said, "We sacrifice our babies, our children, our wives, our brothers. We deserve the help."
Hanif Sadiq and Attaullah Sadiq, a father and son from Alexandria who "We want health. We want to devote our life back to the cause." Mohammad Issa emigrated to the United States from Afghanistan in 1976, have devoted up to 60 hours a week living with the men at the hospital, translating for them and buying them clothes, food and prayer rugs. "These are my brothers, my countrymen," said the elder Sadiq, who sells furniture in a Baileys Crossroads store. "I am so proud of them, I would do anything for them," he said as he stood in front of five hand-drawn clocks he had created to show the Afghans the proper hours to pray.
All other expenses of the medical mission were covered by Americares, which is run by Robert Macauley, a humanitarian who was instrumental in airlifting orphans from Vietnam, as well as supplying medicine to Lebanon and Poland and helping troubled youths in this country.
All of the air transportation was donated by Pan American World Airways and the ambulance from National Airport to the hospital was provided free by Huntemann Ambulance Service of Washington, according to Jim Schaffer, a volunteer from Americares.
"We felt that we're an American airline, and in the spirit of good will and humanitarianism, we should do this," said Jeff Kriendler, a Pan Am vice president at its New York headquarters. "We did this because Mr. Macauley was well known to us for his work in Vietnam."
Macauley said the foundation, which received the President's Voluntary Action Award for 1984, also is shipping medicine to Afghanistan and hopes to continue to bring wounded fighters to the United States for treatment. "It is a huge problem and we've just begun to tackle a part of it," he said. "We're on the phone all the time to private hospitals throughout the country, trying to get them to donate beds and treatment."
He noted that the foundation, and other volunteer medical organizations that are working in Pakistan to help the wounded, have an enormous job. The war in Afghanistan, which pits the Moslem villagers against the Soviets and the Soviet-backed Afghan army, has forced more than 8 million Afghans to flee their homes, some to Kabul, the capital, and many others to Pakistan. It is estimated some 500,000 Afghans have been killed or badly wounded since the fighting began in 1978.