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Afghans Turn to Falbins for Comfort

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Mullah Matghaus, who writes Qu'ranic passages, sits with his grandson in their home in Kabul. (Photo: Elissa Bogos)

Through centuries of conflict, fortunetellers have been a steady source of consolation for Afghans. Some date their practice to the time of Alexander the Great, whose army sought out soothsayers during its conquest of the region. Today, falbins, as they are known, operate in Kabul out of small shops, shacks or on street corners outside mosques and shrines. Their popularity is persisting, despite the occasional police sweep and criticism from mullahs, who believe their practices to be un-Islamic.

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Elissa Bogos is a journalist and photographer based in Kabul.

Afghans Turn to Falbins for Comfort

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