The Taliban’s Psychiatrist

Tahir Qadiry in BBC News Magazine:

Bbc“The reason they gave me for the turmoil in their minds was the uncertainty in their lives. They had no control over what was happening to them. Everything was in the hands of their commanders. They got depressed because they never knew what would happen from one minute to the next.

“Most of them hadn't seen their families for months – they hadn't seen their children who had grown big.”

Alemi found many of the soldiers wanted to die. “They told me they [wanted] to commit suicide, but couldn't because of Islamic values.”

One said: “Every time I go to the frontline, I wish someone would shoot me and bring an end to my life. But I still survive and hate this sort of living.”

“I used to treat the Taliban as human beings, same as I would treat my other patients… even though I knew they had caused all the problems in our society,” says Alemi. “Sometimes, they would weep and I would comfort them.”

One of the main problems was that Alemi's patients were often sent off on missions and could never commit to follow-up sessions.

Consultations cost the equivalent of $1 and the Taliban sometimes sent their wives and daughters to Alemi for treatment as well. “They too were suffering depression, because they wouldn't see their husbands, fathers for a long time and they didn't know what the future held for them.”

Read the rest here.