- Afghans are giving their hungry children medicines to sedate them.
- Others have sold their daughters and organs to survive.
- In the second winter since the Taliban took over and foreign funds were frozen, millions are a step away from famine.
“Our kids can’t stop sobbing and won’t go to sleep. We lack food “explained Abdul Wahab.
Therefore, we visit the pharmacy, buy medications, and give them to our kids so they may fall asleep.
He resides in a colony of hundreds of tiny mud homes outside of Herat, the third largest city in the nation, where people who have been uprooted by war and natural calamities have lived for decades.
Nearly a dozen men crowded around us, including Abdul. We enquired as to how many parents were sedating their kids with medications.
They retorted, “A lot of us, all of us.”
A strip of pills were discovered by Ghulam Hazrat after feeling around in his tunic pocket. They were tranquillizers called alprazolam, which are typically recommended to treat anxiety disorders.
The youngest of Ghulam’s six children is one year old. He said, “I even give it to him.”
Others displayed strips of the medications they claimed to be giving their kids, escitalopram and sertraline. They are typically used to alleviate anxiety and depression.
These medications, according to doctors, can harm the liver in young children who are malnourished, in addition to a number of other issues like chronic exhaustion, sleep abnormalities, and behavioural issues.
We discovered that five of the medications being used can be purchased at a nearby pharmacy for 10 Afghanis, or roughly 10 cents USD, or the cost of a slice of bread.
The majority of the households we encountered divided a few pieces of bread daily. One woman claimed they ate dry bread in the morning and moistened it with water at night.
A “humanitarian disaster,” according to the UN, is currently developing in Afghanistan.
Most of the men in the region outside of Herat are wage labourers. They have lived challenging lives for many years.
However, foreign monies going into Afghanistan were stopped when the Taliban took power last August, leading to an economic collapse that left the men without work on the majority of days. This was because the new de facto administration at the time was not recognised internationally.
They make about 100 Afghanis, or slightly over $1 (£0.83), on the infrequent days that they do find employment.
Everywhere we went, we saw people being forced to make drastic decisions in order to feed their families.
Ammar (not his real name) revealed to us that he underwent kidney removal surgery three months prior and displayed a nine-inch scar across his abdomen from the front to the back of his body with stitch scars that were still a little pink.
He is in his twenties, the time of his life that should have been the peak. To keep him safe, we’re keeping his identify a secret.
“No escape was possible. I had heard that a nearby hospital offered kidneys for sale. I told them I wanted to when I went there. I received a call a few weeks later requesting me to visit the hospital “said he.
“After doing several tests, they gave me an injection that rendered me unconscious. I felt terrified, but I was powerless.”
Ammar received compensation in the amount of 270,000 Afghanis ($3,100), the majority of which was used to pay back money he had borrowed to buy food for his family.
“We never eat the same thing twice. I feel like I’m only half a person now that I’ve sold my kidney. I have no hope. I feel like I might pass away if life goes on like this “said him.
In Afghanistan, selling organs for cash is not unheard of. Before the Taliban took over, it used to occur. However, now that they have made such a difficult decision, people are discovering that they are still unable to find a way to survive.
We encountered a young mother who claimed to have sold her kidney seven months prior in a vacant, chilly home. In addition, they had loan payments to make for money borrowed to purchase a flock of sheep. A few years ago, there was a flood that killed the animals, depriving them of their source of income.
She did not receive enough money for the kidney—only 240,000 Afghanis ($2,700).
“Our two-year-old daughter must now be sold due to financial hardship. Every day, the people who have lent to us threaten us, saying, “Give us your daughter if you can’t pay us back,” “She spoke.
“I’m really embarrassed by the state of things. I get the feeling that dying is preferable to living in such a way “stated her spouse.
We kept hearing about individuals selling their girls.
Nizamuddin claimed, “I sold my five-year-old daughter for 100,000 Afghanis.” What we found on the ground is less than half what a kidney sells for. His eyes welled up, and he bit his lip.
Hunger has shattered the dignity with which people have lived here.
One of the community leaders, Abdul Ghafar, stated, “We recognise it’s against Islamic law, and that we’re putting our children’s lives in jeopardy, but there’s no other option.
The four-year-old Nazia, a happy child who made silly expressions while playing with her 18-month-old brother Shamshullah, was introduced to us in one home.
Her father Hazratullah said, “We don’t have any money to buy food, so I declared in the neighbourhood mosque that I want to sell my daughter.”
In order to marry a lad from a household in the southern province of Kandahar, Nazia has been sold. She’ll be exiled when she turns 14. Hazratullah has already gotten her two payments.
“I spent the most of it on food and part on my younger son’s meds. Look at him, he’s underweight “Shamsullah’s shirt was raised by Hazratullah so that we could see his protruding tummy.
Hunger is already having an adverse effect on Afghan children under the age of five, as evidenced by the startling spike in malnutrition rates.
The rate of admissions at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospitals treating malnutrition across the nation has increased by as high as 47% this year compared to previous.
The only well-equipped malnutrition facility serving not only Herat but also the neighbouring provinces of Ghor and Badghis, where malnutrition rates have increased by 55% in the past year, is MSF’s feeding centre in Herat.
To accommodate the increased number of sick youngsters they are having to admit since last year, they have added more beds. The facility is almost never less than full, though. The number of diseases for which the youngsters entering must be treated is rising.
Omid suffers from sepsis, a hernia, and malnutrition. At 14 months old, he only weighs 4 kg (9lb). A typical infant at that age would weigh at least 6.6kg, according to the doctors. When he started to vomit a lot, his mother Aamna had to borrow money to get to the hospital.
We inquired about the Taliban’s efforts to combat hunger with Hameedullah Motawakil, spokesman for the provincial Taliban administration in Herat.
“International sanctions against Afghanistan and the freezing of Afghan assets are to blame for the current state of affairs. The number of those in need is being counted by our government. Many people fabricate their medical issues in an effort to receive assistance “explained he. He maintained this position in spite of being informed that there is ample proof of how dire things are.
The Taliban, he added, were attempting to create jobs. “We intend to begin construction on a gas pipeline project and iron ore mines.”
That is unlikely to occur anytime soon.
People expressed to us their feeling of abandonment by both the Taliban regime and the international world.
Hunger kills slowly and silently, and sometimes its effects take time to manifest.
Because no one is keeping track of the situation in Afghanistan away from the eyes of the world, its true scope may never be known.
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