The situation in Afghanistan, which has been in turmoil since the Taliban took control, has deteriorated further as the country suffers a drought, forcing families to sell everything, including their own children.
Afghanistan’s future looks bleak with an economy that is already struggling, a prolonged drought, and the Taliban in control.
The onset of winter, a COVID-19 pandemic, and a food crisis added to the hardship of families,” according to a recently issued UNICEF report. UNICEF is the United Nations agency responsible for humanitarian aid and development.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a resident of Kabul, told DW that he had no other option than to offer his 7-year-old daughter, Jamila, for the debt his family owed. “A person came and said to me, either pay the debt or I’ll burn your home to ashes,” Ibrahim said. Instead, he was offered the chance to “give up his daughter,” to pay for the debt.
The man was wealthy, he said, “and I had no choice but to trade my child for 65,000 Afghanis (nearly €620/$700) in debt.” “It’s not easy to offer your child for debt. The only choice we had was to offer our own child,” said Nazo, Ibrahim’s wife.
Due to the collapse of the Afghan government thanks to President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from the country, suicides have also increased as well as psychological and mental illnesses. Poverty is on the rise, and the absence of color and crowds from Kabul’s once vibrant and bustling streets make it all the more apparent.
A Babygirl sold for $500 by a starving family in Afghanistan
UNICEF reports that millions of children continue to need essential services, including primary health care, lifesaving vaccines against polio and measles, nutrition, education, shelter, and water.
Thousands of Afghans have been forced out of their homes and villages by long droughts in western Badghis province. Najeeba, a young girl living in a refugee camp, has been traded by her family for 50,000 Afghanis.
During the night, it is very cold, and we have nothing to keep our homes warm. As a girl, I want NGOs to help me,” Najeeba told DW. “I am still in a disadvantaged position.” My family consists of my two brothers, my sister, and my mother. “I do not wish to marry, but rather study and become educated,” she added.
International welfare organizations are calling for immediate humanitarian aid as the new rulers in Afghanistan struggle for international recognition and to prevent the country’s economic collapse.
For Gul Ahmad, who is the father of Najeeba, there is no other choice but to sell his other daughters to make ends meet. I have no other option, and if we are abandoned, I might have to sell my other daughters for 50, 30, or 20,000 Afghanis.”
It is estimated that 80% of nearly a quarter of a million Afghans who have fled since the end of May are women and children. The UN is particularly concerned about the impact on women and girls.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that from January 1 to October 18, 667,903 people fled their homes because of conflict. The conflict-affected 33 out of 34 provinces.
Due to the departure of US forces and many international donors, the country was left without grants that funded three-quarters of public expenditures.
In the past few months, the Taliban government has struggled to pay salaries to civil servants and food prices have skyrocketed.
Many Afghans are selling belongings and their children to buy food, and Gul Ahmad’s only valuable possessions are his other daughters. These girls may suffer the same fate as their older sisters if outside help is not provided.