Injecting drug use (IDU), common in global centers of heroin production, confers significant risk for HIV-1 infection. Once introduced into IDU networks, an explosive rise in HIV-1 infection typically occurs, fueled principally by needle sharing. New HIV-1 epidemics in IDUs have occurred in Russia, China, Thailand, Spain, Iran, and in other countries, and some have spread into other risk groups in their respective countries. In Afghanistan, the introduction of HIV-1 into IDU networks has begun, but a recent report of 3% HIV-1 prevalence suggests that the epidemic is still at an early stage. Here we establish, by complete genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of four viral strains from Afghan IDUs, that all are the same complex recombinant strain, combining HIV-1 subtypes A and D and herein termed CRF35_AD. Published partial HIV-1 sequences from an HIV-1 epidemic among IDUs in Iran, already at 23.2% HIV-1 prevalence, are either CRF35_AD or a related recombinant. Voluntary HIV-1 screening and harm reduction programs in Afghanistan, applied now, could limit the spread of HIV-1, both in IDUs and in other social networks.