Inside life under the Taliban for homeless addicts in Afghanistan

Under Taliban rule, Afghan drug users face beatings, harsh winters outside and poor treatment facilities. Photographer Maxim Shipenkov visited Kabul to witness their life on the edge

Maxim Shipenkov
Saturday 05 March 2022 00:01
Comments
<p>Afghan men addicted to heroin and methamphetamine take drugs in Kabul</p>

Afghan men addicted to heroin and methamphetamine take drugs in Kabul

Homeless Afghans addicted to drugs gather underneath bridges and are often rounded up, beaten and forcibly taken to treatment centres by the Taliban to avoid visible casualties in harsh winter conditions. The ward in Kabul has some 350 staff and can cater to around 1,000 patients.

Yet it is occupied by around 3,500 drugs addicts who have been brought there by the Taliban. A handful of rehabilitation centres are run by private charity in other cities as well.

Afghanistan is one of the leading producers of heroin and methamphetamine in the world. Most of the drugs produced are exported to the world’s black markets. However, a significant proportion of drugs are deposited within the country.

The recent withdrawal of Nato forces and the return of the Taliban in August last year resulted in the end of foreign financial support, the blocking of the country’s foreign assets and the eventual collapse of the economy. For most Afghan addicts, drugs are a way to hide from unsolvable problems.

Drug addicts rounded up by the Taliban receive treatment at the Avicenna Medical Hospital in Kabul

The hospital is treating three times as many patients as it should

Addicts are often rounded up, beaten and forcibly taken to treatment centres by the Taliban

Afghanistan is one of the leading producers of heroin and methamphetamine in the world

Heroin and methamphetamine addicts use drugs

Addicts in the yard at Avicenna Medical Hospital

EPA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in