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.