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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Photos: Drug Addiction in Kabul, Afghanistan


Photographer Souvid Datta offers an intimate look at the lives of some of the victims of the Afghan addiction epidemic.

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In war-torn Afghanistan, an estimated one million people, both rich and poor, are addicted to drugs. Photographer Souvid Datta’s up-close and personal photos of heroin addicts in Kabul (below, via Time), offer an intimate look at this ongoing epidemic.

It took 12 visits to Kabul’s Pul-e Sukhta bridge, where many of the city’s addicts and dealers live and use, before the 23-year-old photographer was able to gain his subjects’ trust enough to photograph them. ”I started going back alone, trying to speak to addicts above and around the bridge in Urdu,” he says. “I did this without my camera out.”

He later visited and photographed a treatment clinic in Kabul. He reports that most of those who go through treatment end up relapsing after leaving the facility, due to a lack of counseling, resources and job opportunities.

A view of Pul-e Sukhta bridge from the banks of the dried Kabul river. While hundreds often thousands of addicts swarm below in a self-fueling network of drugs, crime and despair, life seems to continue unaffected above.

A view of Pul-e Sukhta bridge from the banks of the Kabul river. Hundreds—often thousands—of people often convene here to use.

Addicts under the Pul-e Sukhta bridge sheltering from the burning summer sun above.

Addicts under the Pul-e Sukhta bridge sheltering from the sun.

Perspective from underneath the bridge, which is a home and visiting place for often up to 2000 people at a time.

Heroin addicts relax in their ward at the government-run Jangalak rehabilitation centre in Kabul.

Heroin addicts relax in their ward at the government-run Jangalak rehabilitation centre in Kabul.

Afghan National Police officers from the Anti-Narcotics Quick Reaction Force (ANQRF) carry out a raid scenario anti-drug trafficking exercise.