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Located in Kabul, Afghanistan, CAPS is an independent, research centre that strives to conduct action-oriented research which will influence policy-makers. It works diligently towards building local capacity to produce conflict and threat assessments that will influence the safety and security of the people serving the governments, and international aid organizations.
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Regional News
Feb 20, 2017
Addicted to drugs, ANA soldier desperate for treatment

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Feb 20, 2017 - 02:01

GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): An Afghan National Army (ANA) service member is among dozens of drug addicts living under the bridge in the capital of southern Ghazni province.

The bridge over the river in Ghazni City provides shelter for drug addicts. The ANA soldier talked to Pajhwok Afghan News but declined to be named. He said he belonged to Argun district of southeastern Paktika province.

He uses to arrive at the bridge after every week from his duty station. The soldier started taking drugs eight years ago when he was in ninth grade.

“My cousin gave me a cigarette and after that I became addicted to it,” he said, adding he was serving in the ANA for the past three years and had fought militants face to face.

But he said he wanted to die because life was a burden for him being an addict. The soldier said he was injured in a Taliban clash three months ago and still he felt severe pain and he used drugs as painkiller.

For drugs, the ANA soldier comes to Ghazni city and uses drugs with other addicts under the bridge.

“I also can purchase drugs in Argun, but their prices are high there so I have to come to Ghazni city to find drugs at lower price,” he said.

Desperate for treatment, the soldier said the society did not treat drug addicts as humans because the addicts were notorious for robberies.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, he said: “I wish I was dead but not addicted, I don’t know what to do, I need to be treated.”

Dozens of youth like the ANA soldier use drugs under the bridge. Local residents say they are tired of asking the government to take the addicts to treatment centers.

Noorullah, a resident of Ghazni city, said: “We are fed up with the drug addicts, they beg and sometimes steal people’s belongings.”

Provincial police chief Gen. Aminullah Amarkhel said police had recently seized a large amount of narcotics and arrested a number of drug traffickers in Ghazni.

He said drug business had been growing faster before his appointment as Ghazni police chief but it was significantly controlled under his leadership.

He said drugs were not openly sold in Ghazni now and police used to act on information shared by drug addicts against drug peddlers.

Amarkhel said police seized and torched around 2,000 kilograms of drugs in the province this year.

Around 4,000 addicts have so far been cured. Dr. Mohammad Ismail, director of the drug addicts’ treatment center in Ghazni, said most addicts returned to drugs after treatment, linking it to joblessness.

“Unfortunately we have limited resources and the center has only 50 beds, we will be able to treat more addicts if the treatment center is expanded,” he said.

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