Photographer of the Year - Photo Essay: Paula Bronstein
Hundreds of Heroin addicts smoke inside the abandoned Russian Cultural center used as a common gathering point during the cold winter months in Kabul.This story takes an in depth look at heroin story shot in Kabul from both the addiction side to the rehabilitation and detox.
Afghanistan is the world's biggest producer of opium, the raw material of heroin, most of it grown in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, where it helps fund an increasingly vicious Taliban insurgency. The illicit industry has an estimated value of around three billion dollars a year, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the world's heroin supply. Obama's US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke stated that the US counter-narcotics effort in Afghanistan "may be the single most ineffective program in the history of foreign policy." A US Department of State report in 2009 stated that there are an estimated two million drug users in the country with at least 50-60,000 drug addicts in Kabul alone. Heroin addicts are on the increase in Kabul as the numbers of unemployed increase and the drug continues to be readily available and extremely cheap at only one dollar a hit.