Afghanistan’s cultivation of opium poppy is the world’s main source of heroin. Billions of dollars have been spent on counter narcotics efforts in the past decade, including programs encouraging farmers to switch to other cash crops. But many of those efforts have failed, with devastating effects. The drug trade has helped fuel the Taliban insurgency and made an astonishing 3 million people, or 12 percent of the population, into addicts. The failure of the war on drugs is being felt even in Western Europe, where Afghan heroin is on the streets of London and Paris.
While in the capital Kabul, I captured brutal the toll the drug epidemic is having on Afghans. Thousands of addicts live under ‘drug bridges,’ bombed-out buildings, and on the river beds in Kabul.