After the 15 August cultivation, the drug trade was outlawed. But until the day before, Quranic students earned $ 400 million a year from trafficking
As night falls, those who once called themselves mujahideen take to the streets as policemen and begin their patrol. The objective of the mission is to no longer free the country from the US invader. But round up the heroin and methamphetamine addicts who populate the darkness of the bridges of Kabul, amidst foul-smelling water and piles of garbage.
A paradox, if we consider that those same guerrillasi have made opium poppy cultivation for over 20 years their main source of income. A tragic irony if you consider that now in the country that has fallen under their control, there is no longer any food and wages are no longer paid.
As the photographer of theAssociated Press Felipe Dana who participated in one of these operations, the Taliban are arresting drug addicts. With whips and chains, the Taliban men, chain them and then transfer them to detox centers. The 150 arrested during the operation that the photographer from Ap, they were taken to the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment on the outskirts of Kabul. Once a military base, Camp Phoenix, founded by the US military in 2003, was transformed into a drug treatment center in 2016, capable of accommodating 1,000 people.
Inmates are stripped and washed. Their heads are shaved. Here begins a 45-day treatment program, explained Dr. Wahedullah Koshan, the chief psychiatrist. They will be placed in detention. Koshan admitted that the hospital lacks the alternative opioids, buprenorphine and methadone, used to treat heroin addiction. His staff have not been paid since July. We are no longer in a democracy, this is a dictatorship. And the use of force is the only way to cure these people, explained Dr. Fazalrabi Mayar, who works in a nursing facility.
Before August 15 – as we told in this report made in Kabul in 2019 – there were 2.5 million consumers in Afghanistan, 800,000 of them are women, 100,000 children. 40 percent are drug addicts. It is likely that this number has risen as the crisis has increased. Immediately after the Taliban took power, the Taliban health ministry issued an order to these facilities, requiring them to treat patients. But until the day before, they levied a 10 percent tax on crop proceeds and heroin labs, earning $ 400 million a year. (about 60 percent of their income).
Publicly, the Taliban have always denied links to drug trafficking. Between 2000-2001, prior to the US invasion, they had banned the cultivation of opium. Then, once they were out of power, they started an extensive trade. And now the ban again, without considering that for most of the farmers, especially in the southern part of the country, opium is the only form of sustenance.
October 14, 2021 (change October 14, 2021 | 10:04 am)
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