Afghan mother facing abandonment of daughter to pay off debt

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KABUL:

A mother in western Afghanistan risks having to hand over her 5-year-old daughter to a man if she fails to repay a $ 1,500 debt left by her husband.

Siringul Musazey tries to survive with his seven children in a one-room tent in Shahr Sabz, Herat province.

With the departure of US-led NATO forces on August 31 of last year and the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, sharp cuts in international aid have worsened the dimensions of hunger and poverty. misery in the country.

According to the UN, with half the country struggling to feed themselves, the number of families who want to sell their children to buy bread is increasing across the country.

Musazey spoke to the Anadolu agency about his financial problems.

Read also : UN calls for record $ 5 billion in aid from Afghanistan to avert “humanitarian catastrophe”

Thousands of people live in the Shahr Sabz region and have had to migrate to Herat from neighboring provinces such as Badghis, Farah and Ghor due to a drought that has worsened over the past three to four years and conflicts between the Taliban and the previous government. Musazey and his family are among them.

If Musazey cannot repay the debt of $ 1,500 (157,810 Afghans) left by her husband, she will have to give her daughter Saliha to the beneficiary.

Struggle for survival in the tent

Immigrated to the region from Badghis three years ago with her husband, five girls and two boys, Musazey now struggles to survive with her family in a tent that offers no protection from the cold and takes water when it rains. .

She and her children sleep under thick duvets at night, trying to avoid the danger of frostbite.

“It is very cold at night. I also have pain in my hands and arms. I am sick and I am cold, ”she said.

The family, who do not even have a stove for heating, have almost nothing to eat. Usually, they eat dry bread with tea and have a bottle of cooking gas and a teapot, two thermos, a few glasses, plates and bowls as cooking utensils.

Read also : More than half of Afghans face “acute” food crisis, UN agencies say

Asked what they ate today, Musazey replied, “Some tea and a few pieces of dry bread. Yesterday we ate some potatoes brought by the neighbors. We have nothing else to eat. We want to be helped.

She and her kids can’t even remember the last time they had a great meal.

Drug addicted husband leaves home

Musazey said her drug addict husband left them and last saw him eight months ago.

Photo: Anadolu Agency

She said that when she lived in Badghis, her husband borrowed $ 1,500 from an acquaintance, which she is unable to repay.

“We have to pay our debt, either by paying money or by giving our child. We are hungry as a family. We have no parents who can help us. Everyone is poor. I have to give my child for my debt. No one is helping us. I’ll either sell my daughter or give her in exchange for my debt. “

The creditor, Khan Hazret, said he was in a good financial position previously, and he loaned the money to Musazey’s husband to support himself.

Noting that he is also poor and unable to make a living, Hazret said he wanted to either collect the debt or marry Saliha to his 12-year-old son in return.

Girls sold in Afghanistan

In starving Afghan families, boys can usually bring a small amount of money home by working jobs such as shining shoes in town or picking up plastic and paper in the trash.

However, some families want to “get rid” of their daughters because they cannot contribute financially to the household. As a result, the sale of young girls in marriage is common across the country.

Read also : Germany warns of ‘worst humanitarian disaster’ in Afghanistan

Buyers can allow girls to stay with their families until the age of 11-12. When the girls reach this age, they are forced to marry the buyers or their children.

Afghan economy faces historic collapse

After the Taliban quickly took control of Afghanistan on August 15 last year, aid to the country was cut short.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the US Federal Reserve have cut off Afghanistan’s access to international funds.

As a result, the country’s economy has become unmanageable.

Unemployment, poverty and hunger have reached alarming levels in Afghanistan.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced that the number of people facing acute food insecurity in Afghanistan stands at at least 18.8 million, and is expected to reach 22.8 million during the winter months.

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