Desperate parents sell their babies as food poverty spirals in Afghanistan

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan where an extra nine million people have been plunged into severe food poverty since the Taliban seized power.

New parents said they have sold their babies just to get enough money to feed their other children.

Just two months on from the takeover, living conditions in Afghanistan have deteriorated so rapidly that it could already be the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster, even worse than the situation in Yemen.

The UN’s world food programme said 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million population – are facing acute food insecurity and ‘marching to starvation’.

This compares to 14 million in August when Ashraf Ghani’s western-backed government was still in place.

The food programme’s executive director David Beasley said: ‘Children are going to die. People are going to starve. Things are going to get a lot worse.

‘I don’t know how you don’t have millions of people, and especially children, dying at the rate we are going with the lack of funding and the collapsing of the economy.’

A million Afghan children are at risk of starving to death.


The country is heavily dependent on foreign aid, and billions of dollars in assistance have been held back by nations still grappling over how to deal with the hardline Islamists rulers.

But the new UN figures may jolt world leaders into faster action.

The food agency needs up to £161 million a month to partially feed Afghanistan’s near 23 million vulnerable people as winter nears.

Destitute citizens include a couple who sold their newborn child for £400, which will get the family ‘through a few months’.

The baby will stay with them until she’s learnt to walk and then be taken by the man who bought her.

They were told she’ll marry his child once she’s grown up, BBC News reports.

The father said, who used to collect rubbish and is unable to earn any money now, said: ‘We are starving. Right now we have no flour, no oil at home. We have nothing.

‘My daughter doesn’t know what her future will be. I don’t know how she’ll feel about it. But I had to do it.’

Aid groups have urged countries, concerned about human rights under the Taliban, to engage with the new rulers to prevent a collapse they say could trigger a migration crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria that shook Europe.

In Yemen, there are around 21 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 11 million children, Unicef says.

Charities helping in Afghanistan

Unicef

Mercy Corps

Turquoise Mountain Trust

United Nations Refugee Agency

Refugee Council

British Red Cross

Refugee Women

The International Rescue Committee

Refugee Action

Refugees International

Open Hearts, Open Borders

War Child, Afghanistan

Women for Afghan Women

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