Though it is forbidden in Afghanistan to take drugs the number of people addicted to Opium, Heroine and Hashish is increasing, especially in Kabul. A recent UN estimate states that 5 per cent of the population is affected. Kabul, Afghanistan, 22/2/09
Though it is forbidden in Afghanistan to take drugs by the Sharia Law the number of people addicted to Opium, Heroine and Hashish is increasing. Especially in Kabul. A recent UN statistic estimates about 5 per cent of the population. Ali got addicted in 1998 while he was a refugee in Teheran. During the Taliban time he was one of about 1.5 million Afghan refugees in Iran. Like most of his country men he faced not much tollerance in the eyes of the Iranian people. His children couldn't go to school, he didn't get any work. With friends he started taking drugs what caused bad consequences. He was kicked out of his home by his family in 1999 soon after the police took him off the streets of Teheran and imprisoned him for 6 years before they deported him to Afghanistan soon after the US invasion. He hasn't seen his family since and had no place to stay in the wartorn country. Finally he chose a former Russian cultural center that is completely destroyed as a hideout with about 50 other people that are spread over the big complex who share his destiny. Every now and then the police comes and imprisons whoever they find. That's what happened to his companian who shared with him the little dark room on the second floor with bombed windows and broken doors. It is freezing cold and the wind blows through. Ali has a little candle but no blanket only some plastic and cloth bags and a few gram of white powder that let him forget his misery.
Opium, Heroine are very cheap. In Kandahar now a Taliban stronghold the drugs openly available on the Bazaar. In Kabul and other cities it is not that visible but fairly easy and still cheap to get.
The heroine has damaged Ali's brain and suddenly he does not even remember his friend's name and most of the time he speaks the Iranian dialect instead of the Afghan Persian. After spending with him several hours he sometimes stopped and stared at me: "Who are you?"
The Afghan government doens't address the growing problem besides arresting people and "Nijaat" is the only drug rehabilitation center in Kabul, no others are known in the country. ORA a humanitarian development NGO once started that center before they gave it over to locals and are now closing down since the security situation for foreign development workers became worse.
During the day Ali is begging or takes any work he can find but most people despise his appearance. When I join him on his way to the bakery people stare at me and say: He is not worth any help.