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Vitaly Merkulov, a prosthetist, treating a patient for a refitting of his prosthetic.

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Jars of leeches for hirudotherapy or leech therapy. The leeches are put on to specific points of the body for 40 minutes every 3 days. Leeches transfer a ferment called hirudin which is a naturally occurring peptide in the salivary glands of the leeches that has a blood anticoagulant property.

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Hussein, an infantryman in the Russia Afghanistan war, received a water massage. He was discharged as a senior sergeant with a second degree disability. First degree group refers to the worst cases, such as loss of a limb or eyesight.

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Poster of Russian war heroes.

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Zoya getting a carbonic acid gas bath. Her husband fought in Afghanistan as a major and has Parkinsons and the Afghan syndrome.

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Sound room relaxation area designated for after intensive procedures.

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Alexander, exercising in the pool facility, served as a lieutenant near Kabul in a motorized infantry division.

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Mud baths.

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Nikolay, who had coronary artery bypass surgery and served in Afghanistan for a year as a colonel in the air defense division, getting leech therapy.

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Masks in the inhalatorium for oxygen treatments.

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Waiting for hirudotherapy.

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Equipment for a non-chemical treatment called electropuncture diagnostics and bioresonance therapy. It measures the bioresonance of the cells in the body and the area where that resonance mismatches the norm is diseased. The treatment also includes stimulating change of the bioresonance in the cells, reversing the abnormal area caused by the disease.

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Igor, pictured receiving acupuncture, was a member of a paratrooper assault brigade and was heavily wounded which resulted in the loss of his leg only six months after he arrived in Afghanistan. He's been coming to the sanatorium on a regular basis since 1991.

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Hallway.

I began the project 'The Afghan Syndrome' to reflect on the legacy of war and call into question the concept of healing. In mid 2011, almost one decade into the United States' war in Afghanistan, I visited one of Russia's veteran treatment facilities, otherwise known as sanatoriums. Between 1979 and 1989, the former Soviet Union fought a war in Afghanistan, leaving tens of thousands of troops wounded, similar to the United States today. Drawn by this parallel, I want to tell the stories of these combat veterans that continue to heal 20 years after a conflict has ended.

Originally opened as a VIP resort for top Communist Party functionaries, the sanatorium, called "Rus" near Moscow, now serves as a treatment facility for Russian veterans of the Afghanistan Chechnya wars. The transformation began in 1989, the same year the Soviet Union withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. Ownership was completed in 1991 by the Russian Association of Veterans Disabled During the War in Afghanistan. Sanatoriums were established as medical facilities for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis. Today, this facility provides physical, psychological and social services to both veterans and their families. In addition, the sanatorium provides alternative treatments for those who cannot use certain medications because of their illness, for example, hirudotherapy or leech therapy, acupuncture, dry carbonic acid gas bath, electropuncture diagnostics and bioresonance therapy. At the time of my visit, the facility hosted 250 patients, most of whom suffered their injuries more than 20 years ago.

As a photographer, I can only hope to explore the different methods in which we as humans cope with the aftermath of war. What drives me is knowing that long after ruling parties change and borders are redrawn, the effects of war remain.