Madness of War
Sahar meets the medical staff trying to deal with Afghanistan’s mental health emergency
In a small cold courtyard in Herat in Afghanistan, two former enemies sit chained together. One is a former warlord, the other a Taliban fighter. Both men are dangerous. Both men are suffering from severe psychiatric conditions. The courtyard is where all 300 inmates of Afghanistan’s only secure psychiatric spend their day; men and women who are too dangerous to be treated in a general hospital. Nearly four decades of war have left a terrible legacy of mental health problems in Afghanistan. In a country where mental illness is often viewed with suspicion and stigma, the challenges of dealing with it are immense. For Assignment, Sahar Zand, gains unprecedented access to the institution, the only one of its kind in the country, where she meets the medical staff trying to deal with Afghanistan’s mental health emergency and the patients, traumatised by decades of conflict.