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Women Wed to Addiction Find Relief at Kabul Center


KABUL, Afghanistan — In a bullet-pocked cement building wedged into a hillside in a crime-ridden neighborhood, a group of drug-addicted women are gathered in the two barren rooms occupied by a family there. Most hold babies as they listen to a social worker passionately urge them to check themselves in to Afghanistan's sole women-only clinic for treatment.

"If your husbands smoke heroin, sisters, or you yourself take opium as medicine, it is like eating poison," said Nadara Saee, squatting before the women. "Besides, it is a big sin against Islam. And it makes you unable to take care of your children. Please listen to me. You must get treatment."

"Before God, I want to come," murmured 45-year-old Torpakai, who like many Afghans, goes by one name only. "But I don't have my husband's permission yet. God willing, he will give it tomorrow."

"We will return tomorrow then, sister," promised Saee.

Nazdana, 33, addicted to opium and painkillers and in whose home the group was gathered, spoke up. "I am ready. I will go."

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