Saturday December 04, 2021

Under Taliban, Kabul’s drug addicts forced into withdrawal

October 19, 2021

Kabul: With shaved heads, oversized tunics and the terrified gaze of the hunted, the drug addicts rounded up by the Taliban brace for 45 days of painful withdrawal.

For some, the hardliners’ raids may potentially help them cast off the yoke of addiction. But for many the stay at Kabul’s Ibn Sina centre will just mark a short change of scene, marked by a brutal approach to forcing users off their powerful dependence.

Before the Taliban marched into Kabul on August 15, police in the capital would sometimes arrest addicts and transfer them to the centre. But since the Islamists took control, the frequency of raids on areas where addicts gather appears to have increased. Hundreds of users shelter in squalid conditions at Pul-e-Sukhta, under a bridge in western Kabul synonymous with hard drugs and violent crime.