Social Issues

Afghan children hit the hardest a year after Taliban takeover: report

Kabul, Aug 10 (EFE).- Almost a year after the Taliban seized Kabul, the situation of Afghan children has worsened in nearly all spheres with 26 percent of the minors showing signs of depression while 33 percent have been unable to return to school, a nonprofit said in its report released Wednesday.

Afghanistan is “one of the worst places in the world” to be a child, Inger Ashing, the CEO of nonprofit Save the Children said in a virtual meeting on Wednesday while releasing a report on the state of Afghan children, even as the Taliban takeover is about to complete a year.

High-school girl students have been the worst affected in terms of education, with 46 percent telling the NGO that they were not attending classes, compared to 20 percent of the boys in the same age group.

However, the reasons behind their absence in classrooms are totally opposite, with the girls attributing it to the closure of girls’ secondary schools and cultural or family restrictions while the boys have been forced to help with house-work or seek work.

The situation is even worse in provinces such as the southern Kandahar, the epicenter of the Taliban movement, where 46 percent of the children are unable to attend school.

The Taliban’s ascent to power on Aug. 15, 2021 has led to Afghanistan being subjected to the strictest interpretation of Shariah or Islamic law, which has resulted in a complete reversal of the women’s rights ensured in recent years.

Meanwhile, the takeover has led to the country being isolated internationally, with the international community turning its back on the new Taliban government and imposing sanctions whose brunt is being borne by common Afghans.

This has resulted in a severe humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan, with just 3 percent of the population asserting that they had money to cover their basic needs, according to the report.

This lack of financial capacity has forced many families to use their children as sources of income, leading to around 22 percent of Afghan children being forced into labor, most of them boys.

In the case of girls, child marriage is one of the solutions being resorted to by families that do not have resources to bear their expenses, with the report stating that 5.5 percent of the girls had received marriage offers.

Around 88 percent of the children said they were eating less than they used to before the Taliban regime, while one in every 10 confessed to frequently going to bed hungry.

These hardships have also affected the minors’ mental health, with one fourth of the Afghan girls showing signs of depression, compared to one fifth of the boys.

In this backdrop, Ashing urged the international community to not turn its back on the Afghan crisis and appealed to the donors to continue supplying aid, at a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine has diverted many of the donations towards the European country.

She said that only such efforts could end one of the worst crises experienced by the Asian nation, with millions of children facing the risk of malnutrition and thousands of families losing their youngest members to lack of food.


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