KABUL is in the middle of a horrifying drug addiction epidemic where even dogs are hooked on heroin and bodies of overdosed Afghans litter the streets.
Haunting images have emerged showing the rampant drug addiction plaguing thousands in the capital after years of war and the return of the Taliban.
Hundreds of men and women high on heroin, opium and meth were pictured strewn across a hillside overlooking Kabul as drugged dogs skulked around.
The bodies of overdosed dogs could also be seen amid the rubbish.
The growing numbers of addicts are found living in parks and sewage drains, under bridges, and on open hillsides in Kabul.
Drug addiction has long been a huge problem in Afghanistan – the world’s biggest producer of opium and heroin and now a major source of meth.
The ranks of the addicted have been fuelled by persistent poverty and decades of war that left few families unscarred.
And it appears to only be getting worse after the country’s economic collapse following the Taliban takeover in August last year.
Families that were once able to get by found themselves out of work, leaving many barely able to even afford food.
Millions more Afghans have been plunged into poverty – and many have turned to drugs to escape their crushing problems.
But the Taliban have launched an aggressive campaign to eradicate poppy cultivation.
At the same time, they also inherited the government’s policy of rounding up addicts and forcing them into camps.
Earlier this year, Taliban fighters stormed two areas where addicts gather – the one on the hillside and another under a bridge.
They picked up some 1,500 people, according to officials in charge of registering them.
They were herded into trucks and cars and taken to the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment – a former US military base that in 2016 was converted into a drug treatment centre.
The site is the biggest of a number of treatment camps around the capital.
The addicts are shaved and kept in barracks for 45 days and they get no treatment or meds as they go through withdrawal.
But the rehab centre barely has enough cash to feed its patients after international funding to Afghanistan was cut off following the Taliban’s takeover.
One of the addicts sheltering under a bridge in the capital told the Associated Press that “addiction has spread throughout his family”.
The man said more and more people turn up at the den under the bridge every day.
“It never ends,” he said.
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