The majestic blue-tiled Hazrat e-Ali mosque complex in the centre of Mazar e-Sharif serves as a recreational space as well as a place of worship for many of the city’s residents.But Ahmad Javed, (not his real name), lounging on a chair near the public toilets, was there for business.Boys kept by powerful older men are made to dance at special parties, and often sexually abused afterwards.
Mahmoud looks out over the chaotic mess of rooftops and aerials and towards the neglected park he now calls home.
He's wearing a red hoodie, blue jeans and a black cap.
But the country’s youth have found a non-judgmental friend in a government helpline that offers advice on taboo subjects — from ways to perk up virility to erectile dysfunction and even homosexuality.
“If you seek advice from friends or family members about treating impotence, you will be labelled immoral, shameless or unmanly,” the caller, a young man in his 20s, told AFP after receiving expert advice. Set up in 2012 with the help of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the youth helpline is run by 10 call centre consultants in Kabul –- men and women trained by a professional sexologist –- who field hundreds of calls a day from distressed Afghans.
"I didn't know anyone when I arrived in Athens," he begins. I don't have a home so I sleep every night in a park nearby."I had only two options when I arrived - one was to become a thief or a drug dealer," Mahmoud explains.