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Afghanistan: Families drug hungry children to sleep, sell organs and their daughters in second year of Taliban rule


NOVEMBER 24, 2022

Kabul: A shocking report has brought to light the plight of the starving citizens of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Afghans are giving their hungry children medicines to sedate them while others have sold their daughters and organs to survive. Millions across the nation are a step away from famine.

Abdul Wahab, speaking to the BBC, said “Our children keep crying, and they don’t sleep. We have no food, so we go to the pharmacy, get tablets and give them to our children so that they feel drowsy.” Abdul lives just outside Herat, the country’s third-largest city, in a settlement of thousands of little mud houses filled with people displaced and affected by war and natural disasters. Nearly a dozen men from the settlement replied in the affirmative when they were asked if sedating the children was a common practice there.

Another man, Ghulam Hazrat felt in the pocket of his tunic and pulled out a strip of tablets. They were alprazolam – tranquilizers usually prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. The cost of 5 alprazolam pills is around the same as a piece of bread Ghulam has six children, the youngest a year old. “I even give it to him,” he said.

Ever since the Taliban took over the country last August, with no international recognition for the new de-facto government, foreign funds flowing into Afghanistan were frozen, triggering an economic collapse that left citizens with no work. On rare days when they manage to find work they earn roughly 100 Afghanis which is a little over 1 USD (80INR)

Citizen sells kidney to repay money borrowed for food

Another citizen said he had surgery to remove his kidney three months ago. “There was no way out. I had heard you could sell a kidney at a local hospital. I went there and told them I wanted to. Some weeks later I got a phone call asking me to come to the hospital,” he said.

The man was paid about 270,000 Afghanis ($3,100) for his kidney and most of the money went into repaying money he had borrowed to buy food for his family

“If we eat one night, we don’t the next. After selling my kidney, I feel like I’m half a person. I feel hopeless. If life continues like this, I feel I might die,” he said.

Daughters are being sold

“I sold my five-year-old daughter for 100,000 Afghanis,” a citizen named Nizamuddin said. That’s less than half what a kidney is worth. The dignity that people here led their lives with has been broken by hunger. Hazratullah’s daughter Nazia has been sold to be married to a boy from a family in the southern province of Kandahar. At 14, she will be sent away. So far the father has received two payments for her.

“I used most of it to buy food, and some for medicine for my younger son. Look at him, he’s malnourished,” Hazratullah said. The staggering rise in malnutrition rates is evidence of the impact that hunger is already having on children under the age of five in Afghanistan.

What does the Taliban have to say?

Speaking on the situation, Hameedullah Motawakil, spokesman of the Taliban’s provincial government in Herat, said “The situation is a result of international sanctions on Afghanistan and the freezing of Afghan assets. Our government is trying to identify how many are in need. Many are lying about their conditions because they think they can get help,” he said. It’s a stance he persisted with despite being told that we have seen overwhelming evidence of how bad the situation is.

He also said that the Taliban were trying to create jobs. “We are looking to open iron ore mines and a gas pipeline project.”

Courtesy/Source: Times Now