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How parents are selling their children in Afghanistan to get feeding money

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How parents are selling their children in Afghanistanto get feeding money

Parents  selling children in Afghanistan to feed families


In mud-brick areas of western Afghanistan inhabited by people who had been displaced by drought and war, a woman is struggling to save her daughter. 

 Aziz Gul's husband sold a 10-year-old girl to get married without telling his wife, and took a small payment to support his family of five children. Without that money, he told her they would all starve to death. He had to give something else in order to save others. 

 Most of the poor people in Afghanistan make such difficult decisions as their country plunges into poverty. The economy of the aid-dependent country was already in shambles when the Taliban seized power in mid-August amid a turbulent withdrawal of US troops and NATO. 

The international community has suspended Afghanistan abroad and suspended all aid, refusing to cooperate with the Taliban government given its brutal reputation during its previous ten years. 

 The consequences have been devastating in a country plagued by a 40-year war, a severe drought and a coronavirus epidemic. Officials in the civil service, including doctors, have not been paid for months. 

Malnutrition and poverty put the people at greater risk, and aid agencies report that more than half the population suffer from food insecurity. "Day by day, the situation is getting worse in this country, especially the poor children," said Asuntha Charles, national director of the charity World Vision in Afghanistan, which runs a homeless shelter just outside the western city of Herat.

 . "Today I am saddened to see families willing to sell their children to support other family members," said Charles. "So it is a good time for a community that helps people to stand up and live with the people of Afghanistan." Arranging weddings for young girls is a common practice throughout the region. 

The groom's family - usually distant relatives - pay for the termination of the contract, and the child usually stays with his or her parents until he or she is at least 15 or 16 years old. 

However, since many cannot afford to buy even basic foodstuffs, some say that they would agree to the bridegroom's taking the youngest daughters or even try to sell their sons. But Gul, rarely in a patriarchal society, dominated by men, resists. He was married at the age of 15 and said he would kill himself if his daughter, Qandi Gul, was abducted. 

 Gul remembers very well when she found out that her husband had sold Qandi. For about two months, the family was able to eat. Finally, she asked her husband where the money came from, and she told him. 

 “My heart stopped beating. I wish I had died then, but maybe God didn't want me to die, ”said Gul. Qandi sat next to her mother, her brown eyes stared blankly under her blue scarf. “Every time I remember that night… I die and I come back to life.

 It was very difficult. ” She asked her husband why he was doing that. “He said he wanted to sell one and save the others. ‘You would all have died this way,’ (he said.) I told her, ‘Death would have been much better than what you did.’ ” Gul rallied her community, telling her brother and the village elders that her husband had sold her baby behind her. 

They supported her, and with their help she received a “divorce” for her child, but only on the condition that she repay the 100,000 afghans (about $ 1,000) her husband received. It's income. Her husband fled, possibly fearing that Gul might sue the authorities. The Taliban government recently announced a ban on forcing women into marriage or using women and girls as exchange symbols to resolve disputes. 

 The family of the bridegroom, a man aged 21 or 22, has repeatedly tried to seduce the girl, he said. She is not sure how long she can live on her own. “I have lost all hope. If I could not afford to pay for these people and if I could keep my daughter near me, I would say I would kill myself, ”said Gul. 

But then I think about other kids. What will happen to them? Who will feed them? ” Her eldest is 12 years old, her youngest - the sixth - is just two months old. Now alone, Gul leaves the children with his elderly mother to work at people's homes. 

Her 12-year-old son is working to pick up a saffron after school. It is not enough to keep them well fed, and the saffron season is short, only a few weeks in the fall. "We have nothing," said Gul. In another part of the same camp, the father of four children Hamid Abdullah was also selling his young daughters for formal weddings, demanding money to treat his chronically ill wife, who was pregnant with their fifth child. 

 Abdullah borrowed money to pay for his wife's treatment and could not repay it, he said. So three years ago, she received a lower paycheck for her eldest daughter Hoshran, now 7 years old, in an arranged marriage with an 18-year-old girl in her home state of Badghis. Now he is looking for someone to buy for his second daughter, 6-year-old Nazia. "We have no food to eat," Abdullah explained, adding that he had to buy medicine for his wife, which would require further treatment. "You need more surgery. I don't have one afghani to pay for a doctor."

 The family who bought the Hoshran wait until they are old enough before all the money is settled, he explained. But now she needs money for food and medical treatment, so she tries to arrange a Nazi wedding.

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