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Portrait. A Hero of Our Time

The Dark Days

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The Dark Days
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. A man at Ibn Sina Addiction Treatment Camp is going through the first phase of a 45-day program. There are 3 phases of 15 days each, the first of which is the most painful and difficult. He counts down the days to open the door and begin the next, easier phase. After the Taliban came to power, they rounded up more than 2,500 addicts from Kabul to show the country is clean and the country's drug problem is solved.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 01, 2021. Portrait of an Afghan woman, an addict, who is already packed and sitting by the window on her last day at a treatment center. She has gone through a 45-day drug withdrawal program at a 100-bed treatment center for addicted women and children. Addicts brace for 45 days of painful and anxiety-ridden withdrawal at the women’s center for drug treatment in Kabul. More than 70 women are presently at the camp, accompanied by their children.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. Drug addicts rest on their beds at the Phoenix Addiction Treatment Center. Many of them have not eaten in the past week and they are weak with hunger. The treatment course consists of 3 phases of 15 days. During the last phase, addicts are allowed to be in the yard for a short time during the day.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 01, 2021. A woman with her child sitting by the window on her bed at a treatment center. She has gone through a 45-day drug withdrawal program at a 100-bed treatment center for addicted women and children. Addicts brace for 45 days of painful and anxiety-ridden withdrawal at the women’s center for drug treatment in Kabul. More than 70 women are presently at the camp, accompanied by their children.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. A camp employee shaves the head of a drug addict who just arrived at Phoenix army camp, now called the Avicenna Medical Hospital. The 1,000-bed camp now houses 3,500 people after the Taliban, under new strict rules, rounded up and forced 2,500 homeless addicts into the camp to undergo a painful 45-day withdrawal process. Afghanistan is the world's largest opium producer and exporter, but it is also an important consumer. The country accounted for 7% of total world demand. The Taliban want to portray the capital of Afghanistan as clean and safe since they took power.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 01, 2021. Portrait of a woman in a center for drug treatment in Kabul. She has gone through a drug withdrawal program at a treatment center for addicted women and children. Drug addicts brace for 45 days of painful and anxiety-ridden withdrawal at the women’s center for drug treatment in Kabul. More than 70 women are presently at the camp, accompanied by their children.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 01, 2021. An empty room in a treatment center. In this bed, a woman with her newborn child went through a 45-day drug withdrawal program at a 100-bed treatment center for addicted women and children. Drug addicts brace for 45 days of painful and anxiety-ridden withdrawal at the women’s center for drug treatment in Kabul. More than 70 women are presently at the camp, accompanied by their children.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. In his bed, Mohammad is spending his last days of hospitalization in the camp. The addiction withdrawal period is 45 days, the last 15 days of which is the recovery phase, the easiest part.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. Addicts are walking in the corridors of the Phoenix Addiction Treatment Center in Kabul. Helplessness and distress, uncertainty, broken family ties, and despair have made these days unbearable for them. In their confusion, they are looking for their lost identity and that of their country.
Kabul, Afghanistan, December 02, 2021. Helplessness and distress, uncertainty, broken family ties, and despair have made life unbearable. In their confusion, addicts search for their lost identity and that of their country. No one knows how many more days the people in this camp can endure.

Afghanistan, now called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, has been plagued by war, poverty, and insecurity for more than four decades. The Taliban, which previously held power for about 4 years, is now back in charge. The illicit opium trade is intertwined with Afghanistan’s economy. Currently, this 1,000 bed camp houses 3,500 drug addicts who were forced to go through withdrawal by the Taliban. They did not eat for a week because the Taliban had no money for food. The detainees show the range of Afghan lives hollowed out by the country’s tumultuous past of war, invasion, and hunger. They were poets, soldiers, merchants, interpreters, and farmers. Helplessness and distress, uncertainty, broken family ties, and despair have made the present unbearable for them. In their confusion, they search for their lost identity and that of their country. No one knows how many more days the people in this camp can endure.

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