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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Afghan girl in Japan for surgery
Fatema Safar
The girl is expected to recover from the operation in a month
A 13-year-old Afghan girl reported to have a bullet lodged in her head for eight years has arrived in Japan for life-saving medical treatment.

Fatema Safar was hit during a gun battle in Kabul, her family say, as the hardline Islamic Taleban movement took control of the city.

Doctors say a 3cm bullet (1.2in) is embedded near the top of her nose.

It is corroding and could kill her unless it is removed, according to the Tokyo-based charity helping her.

Fatema has been admitted to hospital and will be operated on next Wednesday.

She has been suffering from chronic headaches since she was shot, and has lost the sight in her left eye, a spokesperson from the charity, Aid for War Orphans in Asia, says.

"I am very grateful to the Japanese people for bringing me here," she said, according to the charity.

Fatema, who is accompanied by her mother, is due to stay in Japan until September.

Aid for War Orphans in Asia helped raise the 8m yen ($73,000) needed to pay for her operation there, as no neurosurgeon was available in Afghanistan, AFP news agency reported.

The bullet was only discovered when Fatema had an X-ray last May, the agency says.

She is not expected to regain her lost vision.

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