Chained in his cell at the shrine of Mia Ali Baba Shrine in Jalallabad, Afghanistan. According to the local beliefs, the shrine has magical qualities to heal mental illness. The local Shrine is located in a remote area controlled by Taliban

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Invisible War Consequences

Diego Ibarra Sánchez | Afghanistan

Abandoned, chained, forgotten… Mental patients in Afghanistan face the lack of resources to take care of them while the political instability and the increase of drug addicts forced them to be forgotten. Ignorance and stigma regard mental disorders.

War and drugs has a catastrophic effect on the health. Death as a result of war is simply the "tip of the iceberg". More than three decades of conflict have led to widespread human suffering and population displacement in Afghanistan. The effects of war include long-term physical and psychological harm also resulting in drug addictions. While mental health treatment of Afghanistan has improved in cities, but many rural residents still require to send the patients to shrines, where they may be chained, neglected and poorly look after. Shrines offer draconian approach to mental illness. They offer them ancient rituals for healing the mental patients to take out the evil spirits. According to the local beliefs the mental illness is labeled as being possessed by an evil spirit known as jinn.

Several trips to Afghanistan

Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Spain: 0034 663059578 I  Pakistan 0092 3219502700

e-mail address:

Documentary Photographer based in Pakistan

After graduating as a journalist, in 2005 he received a grant from the Aragón Press Association that allowed him to start working as a photographer for the daily "El Territorio" and later for the Argentinian newspaper “La Nación”. It was a year he used to develop his own understanding of Photography.

He returned to Spain and started to discover his style in the Albarracín Masterclass, taught by Gervasio Sánchez. Since then Diego never stopped exploring the soul of what he is capturing. He was granted again, this time to visit Bosnia. When he was checking his e-mail in Mostar, the catalonian NGO PAX Fundation asked Diego to travel to Colombia to document the reality of the landmines, a complex issue he was to cover again in a trip to Algeria, where he looked for the forgotten stories of the Saharaui people.

After two years living in Barcelona and working as a staff photographer for the Catalan newspaper “Avui”, he got a postgraduate in Photojournalism at Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. He decided then to embrace the Middle East and Asia in the search of his own photographic style.

He has been living in Pakistan since 2009. Diego had been working with GLOBAL PRESS NEWS AGENCY for two years and a half as a multimedia reporter.

Diego is a member of CORDON PRESS / CORBIS, an international photo agency.

He is also one of the founders of ZPhoto, a collective that was born to create a space of photographic dialogue in Zaragoza called “ZARAGOZA PHOTO FESTIVAL” in Spain.

While in Pakistan, he is been publishing some of his works with "Libération", “El País”, “El País Semanal”, "El Mundo", "Público", "Ara", “El Periódico de Catalunya”, “La Razón”, “Tiempo de Colombia” “L’Equipe”, Clarín, Magazine Tiempo & Magazine La Tercera

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