End of the Line

Alexandra Boulat/Cosmos for TIME

Ravaged by war and drought, hundreds of thousands of Afghans are now facing starvation

Survival is precarious in rugged Afghanistan, even in the best of times. And this is the worst. For months, Hawaneen, a hollow-cheeked Afghan farmer from northwest Badghis province, watched as his village slowly succumbed to the country's worst drought in three decades. The communal well dried up. Hawaneen's goats and sheep died of starvation. After he fed his family his last grains of wheat, Hawaneen decided they had to flee. Word had circulated that foreign aid agencies were giving out food and medicine near Herat, an ancient, sandstorm-swept caravansery of broken minarets in western Afghanistan. A month ago, the 43-year-old patriarch...

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