A Massachusetts man is recovering from the United States’ first penis transplant, and doctors in Boston say they are “cautiously optimistic” he will make a full recovery.
Sixty-four-year-old Thomas Manning lost his penis to cancer in 2012 and was given a new one last week thanks to an anonymous dead donor.
Manning said he wanted to go public about his surgery, which took 15 hours, to encourage others who may be ashamed or humiliated by the loss of a sex organ.
If all goes well, doctors say Manning will regain full urinary and sexual functions. They also say they want to ensure the operation is a success before they perform it on others, including wounded soldiers.
The world’s first successful penis transplant was undertaken last year in South Africa.
It was tried in China about 10 years ago, but the patient asked doctors to remove the organ because he and his wife had psychological problems.
Manning’s doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital said his psychological state will play a big role in his recovery.
“Emotionally, he’s doing amazing,” Dr. Curtis Cetrulo told a news conference Monday. “I’m really impressed with how he’s handling things. … He wants to be whole again. He does not want to be in the shadows.”
The Boston Herald reported that Cetrulo was among the lead surgeons on a team of more than 50.(Voice of America)
Zalmay Khalilzad, the man responsible for overseeing America’s negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, arrived Tuesday night in Kabul, after making stops in India, the United Arab Emirates, and China. He is expected to visit Islamabad next.
His outreach to regional players continues despite what seems like a setback in talks with the Taliban.
“The [dialogue] process has halted for now so the venue and the date for a future meeting are not known,” a senior Taliban official who is privy to the developments confirmed to VOA earlier this week when asked whether their peace talks with the U.S. were still on track.
Talks scheduled with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia earlier this month were called off by the insurgent group after it came under pressure by the host government to meet with representatives of the current Afghan government.
The insurgent group pushed to change the venue to Doha, Qatar, but later canceled those talks as well over disagreements on the agenda.
The last significant round of talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban was held in December in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the host government also took part in that round.
The Afghan government sent a delegation to Abu Dhabi in hopes of joining the talks, but the Taliban refused to meet them.
The group so far has resisted pressure from multiple actors, including the U.S., to meet with the Kabul administration, calling it a “puppet” regime unable to deliver on their demands.
The U.S. goal, according to a statement issued by its embassy in Kabul, is to “encourage the parties to come together at the negotiating table to reach a political settlement.”
Khalilzad will meet with President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah, and political leaders to “discuss the next steps in U.S. efforts to support and facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” the statement added.
A feud among Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar also seems to be damaging the process, say various media reports. According to the Reuters news agency, Saudi and UAE diplomats refused to take part in any meeting held in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain an unofficial political office. The two countries severed ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing the Gulf state of funding militants – a charge Doha denies.
In December, it was reported that President Donald Trump told the Pentagon to prepare for the withdrawal of 7,000 American military personnel from Afghanistan, which would reduce the U.S. presence in the country by half.
The U.S. fulfilled a major Taliban demand last year of talking directly to the Americans, in an effort to jumpstart a peace process. Since then, several rounds of negotiations between the two have been held, albeit without the Kabul administration.
Meanwhile, security in Afghanistan continues to present a major challenge. An attack in Kabul Monday killed several people and wounded dozens of others. (VOA)