By Noor Agha Sultanzoy
Polecharkhi prisoners suffer from sexually transmitted diseases and drug abuse.
Killid interviewed prisoners and a doctor in the Kabul prison to find that opium addiction and diseases like HIV-Aids are rampant among the 7,000 inmates.
While 70 prisoners have been diagnosed with syphilis, 150 of the 700 prisoners on drugs were injecting the drug, according to Dr Hemat who leads a medical group in Polecharkhi. The doctor said many prisoners confirmed the problem of drug addiction was serious. The main reason was the easy availability of narcotics within the prison.
Prisoner. (Photo: Killid Group)
An inmatein the prison's fourth block said drugs were a thriving business in the four-storied block. "The relatives of the prisoners can bring at best only 5 to 10 gms. But here drugs are sold in kilos (kilogrammes)," he told Killid. The prisoner will not be named in order to protect his identity.
Another prisoner who has been an inmate for eight years said the police were very much part of the chain bringing drugs into jails. "Brother, it is the government and police that provides these things(narcotics), and we pay them money," he said.
General Amir Mohammad Jamshed, chief of the Afghan Prison and Detention Centres, says he is concerned about the reports of easy availability of narcotics in prisons despite the strict monitoring of prisoners and the premises. However, he believes the police are not involved. "We don't say that narcotics are not coming into prisons," he says. "We do our best," he insists. He points to un-named "other countries" where he says the prisons are equipped with the most sophisticated equipment but drugs slip in. "We cannot entirely prevent the smuggling of drugs, but we have decided to take serious steps (to stop it)," he says.
Minister for Public Health Dr Suraya Dalil who visited Polecharkhi on Nov 7 said a medical team, which included 14 doctors, has been assigned to treat and give counseling services to the prisoners.
She said that a smaller medical team of seven nurses and seven doctors visit the prison every day. According to the minister, the problem of shortage of medicines for the prison has been solved with the support of the Afghanistan Medical Services.